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,y~~ - 










• •• 

• • 

• • • 

University Prbss : Welch, Bigblow, & Co., 

fR VS73 


MA id 


1775- 1797. JET. 1-22. 

L Introductory, 1, 2. — II. The Landors and the Savages, 2-5. — III. Birth 
and Childish Days, 5-8. — IV. At Rugby School, 8-19. — V. At Ash- 
bourne, 19-24. — VI. At Trinity College, Oxford, 24-31. — VII. Before 
and after Rustication, 31 -35. — VIII. First Published Book, 35-37.— 
IX. A Fair Intercessor, 37-41. — X. A Moral Epistle, 41 -43.— XI. Re- 
treat to Wales, 43-48. 


1797- 1805. MT. 22-30. 


L Obir, 49-64. — II. Some Opinions of Gcbir, 64-70. — III. Doctor Parr, 
70 - 76. — IV. Attack of the Monthly Review, 76 - 85. — V. Sergeant Rough, 
85 - 92. — VI. Corresponding with Parr and Adair, 92 - 103. — VII. At Paris 
in 1802, 103-107. — VIII. Poetry by the Author of Gcbir, 107-112.— 
IX. Walter Birch, and Succession to Family Estates, 1 12 - 119. 


1805-1814. JET. 3O-39. 

I. Life at Bath, 120-124.— IL Robert Southey, 124- 130. — III. First Letters to 
Southey, 130-133. — IV. In Spain, 133-142. — V. Letters to Southey on 
Spain and Spaniards, 142-149. — VI. Letters on Kehama and Roderick, 
149-163. — VII. The Tragedy of Count Julian, 163- 186. — VIII. In Pos- 
session of the Abbey, 186-196. — IX. Marriage and Life at Llanthony, 196- 
214. — X. Public Affairs, 214-233.— XL Private Disputes, 233-247.— 
XII. Departure from England, 247 -255. 




1815-I82I. JET. 40-46. 

I. From Tours to Milan, 256-260.— II. At Como, 261 -271.— -HI. At Pisa, 
271-275. — IV. At Pistoia, 275-279.— V. Again at Pisa, 280-292.— 
VI. On the Way to Florence, 292-298. — VIL Retrospect and Prospect: 
a New Literary Undertaking, 298-314. 


1822 - 1828. JET. 47 - 53. 

I. Friends in Italy and England, 317-323. — II. The Manuscript on its Way, 
323-826. — IIL A Publisher found, 326-332. — IV. What the First Vol- 
ume contained, 332-347. — V. What the Second Volume contained, 347- 
364.— VI. How the Book was received, 364-369. — VII. The Southey Cor- 
respondence, 369 - 388. — VIII. Family Letters, 388 - 401 . — IX. New Series 
of Conversations, 401 -415. — X. Contents of the New Series, 415 - 432. 


1829- 1835. JET. 54-60. 



L Closing Years in the Palazzo Medici, 433-441. — n. Mother's Death, 441 - 
443. — III. Ordered to quit Tuscany, 443-447. — IV. The Villa Gherardes- 
cha, 447-454. — V. Ensrland revisited, 454-465.— VI. Again in Italy : Old 
Pictures and New Friends, 465-477. — VIL Examination of Shakespeare 
for Deer-Stealing, 477-489. — VIII. Pericles and Aspasia, 489-498.— 
IX. Self-banishment from Fiesole, 498 - 503. 



1836- 1857. JET. 6l-82. 


I. New and Old Friendships, 504-513. — n. The Pentameron of Boccaccio and 
Petrarca, 513-523.— HI. Writing Plays, 523-537. — IV. Reviewing a Re- 
viewer, 537 - 548. — V. Visits and Visitors, 549 - 556. — VI. Death of Southey, 


556-563. — Vll. Last Series of Conversations, and some Letters, 563-572. 
— VIII. A Friend not Literary, and other Friends, 572-579. — IX. Reviews, 
Collected Works," Poemata et Inscriptions, and Hellenics, 579-592. — X. 
Summer Holidays and Guests at Home, 592-605. — XL Deaths of Old 
Friends, 605-611. — XII. Fruits gathered from an Old Tree, 611-627.— 
XUI. Silent Companions, 627-647.— XIV. Last Days in Bath, and Final 
Departure from England, 647 - 653. 


1858 -1864. JET. 83-89. 

I In his Old Home, 654-658. — II. At Siena, 658-660. — m. In Florence, 
660-666. — IV. Five Unpublished Scenes, being the last Imaginary Conver- 
sations, 666 - 671. — V. The Close, 672 - 678. 

LVDEX 679 

Sou.— An the letters quoted In this book are from original sources, and, with a few exeep- 
tfara ipeoUU/ stated, have not before been printed. 



Certain references that occur in this volume might be misleading with 
out a mention of the fact that the commencement of it was written in tin 
winter of 1865, and that the English Edition of the first four books wa\ 
printed off in the summer of 1867. The completion of the book has beei 
necessarily delayed until now. 

• • • • • 



1775-1797. JEt. 1-22. 


L Introductory. — II. The Landors and the Savages. — III. Birth and Childish 
Days. — tV. At Rugby School. — V. At Ashbourne. — VL At Trinity Col- 
lege, Oxford. — VII. Before and after Rustication. — VIII. First published 
Book. — IX. A fair Intercessor. — X. A Moral Epistle. — XI. Retreat to 


I am not insensible to what is generally taken to be expressed, in 
matters of literature as in many other things, by great popularity. 
The writer whom crowds of readers wait upon has deserved his fol- 
lowing, be it for good or ill ; and the desire to read without the 
trouble of thinking, which railways have largely encouraged, and to 
which many modern reputations are due, has not prevented the 
growth of other reputations that will outlive the contemporaries who 
conferred them. 

But with this popular literature, which in some form always exists* 
changing its form with the age, there has existed at all times a litera- 
ture less immediately attractive, but safer from caprice or vicissi- 
tude ; and finding its audiences, fit however few, the same through 
many ages. England has been very fortunate in it. Its principal 
masters have been the men who from time to time have purified, 
enlarged, and refixed the language; who have gathered to it new 
possessions, extending its power and variety ; but whose relation for 
the most part to their reading contemporaries, far from that of the 
petted or popular favorite, has been rather that of the thoughtful to 
the little thinking or 4;he learned to the little knowing. They have 
been too wise for the foolish, and too difficult for the idle. They 
have left unsatisfied the eager wish for the sensational or merely 
pleasurable, on whose gratification popularity so much depends ; and 
they have never had for their audiences those multitudes of readers 
who cannot wait to consider and enjoy. Taking rank with this rare 
class is the writer, Walter Savage Landor, of whom I am about to 
give some account. 




descendant from the same family, the Countess of Conyngham. This 
estate was called Hughenden Manor, and is now the property of Mr. 

Well born as Walter Savage Landor thus was, on the side of both 
parents, no title can yet be established for such claim to high con- 
sideration or remote antiquity, on the part of either, as from time to 
time has been put forth in biographical notices of him, and even in 
his own writings. For here the reflection has to be made, — strange 
in its application to such a man, — that, possessing few equals in 
those intellectual qualities which he was also not indisposed to esti- 
mate highly enough, he was not less eager to claim a position where 
many thousands of his contemporaries equalled and many hundreds 
surpassed him. I had on one occasion the greatest difficulty in 
restraining him from sending a challenge to Lord John Russell for 
some fancied slight to the memory of Sir Arnold Savage, Speaker of 
Henry the Seventh's first House of Commons ; yet any connection 
beyond the name could not with safety have been assumed. When 
he says, in one of his Imaginary Conversations, that his estates were 
sufficient for the legal qualification of three Roman knights, he is 
probably not far from the truth; but it is much more doubtful 
whether any one of his forefathers of either family possessed in land 
an income equal to his own before it was squandered by him. Be- 
tween the two classes of the untitled gentry of England, his family, 
by both father and mother, held a place of which any man might 
have been proud ; but it was not exactly all he claimed for it. To 
the rank of those powerful commoners of a former age who were not 
less than the noblest either in name or influence, it did not belong ; 
but it ranked with the highest and oldest among that class of private 
gentlemen who stood between these and the yeomanry, — men of 
small but independent fortunes, equally respectable, and educated 
not less well; and, during several generations, the property of both 
Landors and Savages had thus been held and handed down by their 
eldest children. There is pleasant allusion to these matters, and to 
his brother's occasional weakness respecting them, in one of Mr. 
Robert Landor's letters. 

" It seems that the family was seven hundred years old, and sev- 
eral notices of my brother's death repeat the, same tale. We may go 
back about half-way,* but no further. Some of us enjoyed provincial 

* The reference here is to the Savages ; the Landors, as will be seen towards the close 
of the letter, being more certainly of older date. Family deeds in Mr. Henry Landor's 
possession, witnessed by Robert de la Lande and Peter de Bracebridge, must have 
dated before the statute of Quia Emptores (1268) j and Mr. W. H Bracebridge, writing 

wickshire,' and of * Peter de Bracebridge, (who) took upon him the sign of the cross,— 
of a family of this name of consideration in Warwickshire.' This was in 1191. It is 
also stated by Dansey that at the siege of Acre (when an assault was made on that 
town), the English and* Germans attached ladders to the walls; whereupon the Pagans 
tied cords to them, and tried to drag them over the walls; whereon Ralph Telli, Hum- 


honors and offices ; and Walter believed that a certain Arnold Savage 
was the Speaker of the House of Commons of that name. One of my 
chui jhwardens had a sister with whom I searched the parish regis- 
ters for certain ancestors of hers. Finding only parish officers, not 
one of whom rose higher than a yeoman, the lady, who was indeed 
very handsome, assured me that they were descended from Julius 
Ciesar quite directly ; and was much pleased on learning from me 
that this Julius was descended from lulus, the son of yEneas, the son 
of Venus ; and thus I could account for beauty in herself, both divine 
and imperishable. She was forty ; and I gained the character, soon 
lost again, of extreme politeness. I related this anecdote to my 
brother, who could not apply it. In a translation of Rabelais pub- 
lished about fourteen years ago, I found the word Laridor * applied to 
such fools as were supreme among all other fools ; and a long note 
was required to enumerate their varieties. Till then I did not be- 
lieve that any language could contain so many opprobrious terms, so 
whimsical and contemptuous. The last time that my brother was at 
Biriingham I tried to read the long list of them, but was interrupted 
by such loud screams as must sometimes have shaken both your 
library and mine. There was not only astonishment, but delight, in 
his laughter. When I suggested that probably our ancestor was the 
greatest fool among all those who accompanied the Conqueror, and 
thus acquired the highest place and name, he accepted the priority. 
But then he might have reserved for himself the power to escape. 
For it appears that our name originally was Del-a-La'nd (De la 
Laundes) ; and my brother Henry has in his keeping some old writ- 
ings conveying an estate signed and sealed in that name. When it 
was that so many Norman names gained English terminations, as 
must have been the case, the heralds know best." 


The family identity of fools and Landors does not seem long to 
have survived the laughter of Rabelais. Some of the name did good 
service in the civil wars of Charles and Cromwell ; and Staffordshire 
bad a stout Whig Landor for its high-sheriff in the reign of William 
the Deliverer, whose grandson, falling off from that allegiance, stood 
up as stoutly for the Jacobites, and whose great-grandson was the * 
leading physician in Warwick, when, on the 30th January, 1775, in 
the best house of the town, facing to the street, but overshadowed at fc 
the back by' old chestnuts and elms, the eldest child of himself and 
Elizabeth Savage Of Tachbrooke, christened Walter and Savage, was 1 
1x>to. The other children of the marriage may at once be named. ' 

phrey de Pell, and Robert de la Land* and Roger Glanville mounted the ladder and 
put out the Greek Arts which had been thrown on it, but Telli, mounting higher, cut 
the ropes with his sword " (p. 122). 

* Trie word " landore," the reader need hardly be told, is not a fantastic name, but 
the old French word for a heavy fellow. 



They were Charles, Henry, and Robert ; Elizabeth, Mary Anne, and 
Ellen : born respectively in 1777, 1780, and 1781; in 1776, 1778, 
and 1 783. The three daughters died unmarried ; Charles and Robert 
entered the Church, after taking their degrees at Oxford ; and Henry, 
who had been at Rugby with Walter and Charles, and desired to have 
gone like them to Oxford, had, upon his brother Robert obtaining a 
scholarship to that university from Bromsgrove School, to yield to his 
father's doubt whether his income could properly support all three sons 
at college, and himself to enter the office of a London conveyancer. 

It was the elder brother's misfortune in his youthful days that he 
alone should have wanted the healthful restraints which the others 
underwent of necessity. No care with a view to a profession had any 
need to find a place in his thoughts. He Btood first in the entail of 
the family estates ; and if he could confine his desires within such 
limit, and live meanwhile on his father's allowance, he had simply to 
qualify himself for improving or wasting them. This he too well 
knew ; and though his father, as he observed in Walter the develop- 
ment of unusual intellectual promise, would eagerly have imposed 
upon him corresponding duties and obligations, the attempt only led 
to disagreements, and the unsettled wayward habit was never after- 
wards reclaimed. 

Landor once proposed to send me reminiscences of his life. He 
had been reading the delightful fragment of the days of Southey's 
boyhood, and the fancy struck him to write from time to time some 
such recollections of his own. But he went no further than his sixth 
year, finding the difficulties beyond that date to be insuperable ; and 
unfortunately his letters were so carefully, for better preservation, 
slipped into some book at the time, that they are not now to be dis- 
covered. It was in vain I urged him to continue what he had been 
eager to begin. He had satisfied himself of the propriety of abstain- 
ing. He had found that though in boyhood we stand alone, we are 
afterwards double in more and better than the Platonic sense, and 
that no instrument is fine enough for the amputation. I pressed 
him no further. 

There remains no remembrance of Lander's infancy or childhood, 
therefore, beyond such expressions as he now and then himself let 
drop in old age. Writing in 1853 from the house in which he was 
born, and which his sister Elizabeth occupied till her death in the 
following year, when the last witness of his childish days passed 
away, he mentions having picked up from the gravel-walk the first 
two mulberries that had fallen, — a thing he remembered to have done 
just seventy-five years before. Tachbrooke alternated with Warwick 
in these child-memories. From his seventh year he had associations 
with the Tachbrooke garden ; and when near his eightieth year he 
directed the now owner of the house, his brother Henry, to the exact 
spot where he would find the particular apple-tree of one of their 
boyish adventures, " close upon the nut-walk, and just of the same 


size and appearance as it was seventy years ago." To this old place 
he was indeed especially attached, and his allusions to it were inces- 
sant. It was the scene of his earliest games and sports, where his 
" heedless childhood played, a stranger then to pain " ; where his 
boyhood too soon had run through its few happy days ; and where 
often he wished that he might find his final rest. These are the 
expressions continually applied to it in letters to members of his 
family, while his memory still could go back even beyond his seventh 
year. To his brother Henry in 1852 he exclaimed : " Dear old 
Tachbrooke I It is the only locality for which I feel any affection. 
Well do I remember it from my third or fourth year ; and the red 
filberts at the top of the garden, and the apricots from the barn-wall, 
and Aunt Nancy cracking the stones for me. If I should ever eat 
apricots with you again, I shaH not now cry for the kernel." 

As soon as he could quit the nursery, he had been sent to a school 
at Knowle, ten miles from Warwick ; and even of this time, when he 
had reached the age of about four years and a half, his letters have a 
recollection which is worth preserving. Writing to his sister Ellen 
from Florence, at the close of 1831, he says : " I remember when I 
went to Knowle an old woman coming from Balsal-Temple to little 
Treherne for a guinea, which he paid her yearly. She was one hun- 
dred and two when I was four and a half; so that it is in the range 
of possibility that she might have seen people who had seen not 
only Milton, but Shakespeare, Bacon, Spenser, and Raleigh. I myself 
have conversed with a man, not remarkably old, who had conversed 
with Pope, Warburton, and Fielding." * 

• Other portions of this letter are so curious that the reader will thank me for pre- 
serving them. Adverting to an old Warwick friend's death, he continues : " She must 
have died extremely old : she was old forty years ago. I have an acquaintance here, 
an American by birth, formerly a painter, who remembers the election of Pone Ganga- 
nelli. He was in America when General Wolfe was killed, — 'but a mere child, as you 
may stq>po*e, y says he. He is now a hundred and thirteen or fourteen, and will not own 
that he is above eighty-nine, until reminded of Wolfe and Ganganelli. On this occa- 
sion, some years ago, he said, ( Yes, sir, I am eighty-nine ; I was eighty-nine at the 
time you mention ; and eighty-nine I will stick at, to the lost.' He painted the picture 
of the late Lord Middleton and his family, about sixty years ago, at Middleton ; soon 
after which he declined the profession because he found himself growing old. Fifty- 
five years ago he walked with a stick, — since that time he has left it off. He keeps 
late hours, and is not very abstemious in food or wine. A little while ago, somebody 
had read in the papers of a man in Russia who was a hundred and thirty-two years 
old. When this was told him, he said: ' I dare say that he is more, but won't own it : 
people when they are getting a Utile in years don't like to say anything about it' His 

good way from Philadelphia.' * Then you never even saw him.' A No, no, not I. 
Continuing what is said in the text of theman who had conversed with Pope, and who 
will shortly again be mentioned, Landor adds : "This was Dr. Harrington of Bath, who 
at the time I mention was not above seventy-two years old. He told me that he dined 
with old Allen at Prior Park when he was about ten or eleven years old, and saw there 
Pope and Warburton ; and several years afterwards (five or six) Fielding. Pope died 
tha year afterwards, that is, in 1745. But old James Smith, my American, might have 
had gray hairs in his head at Pope's death." I do not know what Lord Macaulay 
would have said to all this ; but he might probably, and rightly, have demurred at the- 
outset, — that the evidence did not satisfy him. It is curious, however. 


lan Don's birthplace at 


set and carriage of his head, was decidedly of what is called a dis- 
tinguished bearing. His hair was already silvered gray, and had 
retired far upward from his forehead, which, wide and full but re- 
treating, could never in the earlier time have been seen to such 
advantage. What at first was noticeable, however, in the broad 
white massive head, were the full, yet strangely lifted eyebrows ; 
and they were not immediately attractive. They might have meant 
only pride or self-will in its most arrogant form but for what was 
visible in the rest of the face. In the large gray eyes there was a 
depth of composed expression that even startled by its contrast to 
the eager restlessness looking out from the surface of them ; and in 
the same variety and quickness of transition the mouth was ex- 
tremely striking. The lips that seemed compressed with unalterable 
will would in a moment relax to a softness more than feminine : 
and a sweeter smile it was impossible to conceive. What was best 
in his character, whether for strength or gentleness, had left its 
traces here. It was altogether a face on which power was visibly 
impressed, but without the resolution and purpose that generally 
accompany it ; and one could well imagine that while y»t in extreme 
youth, and before life had written its ineffaceable record, the individ- 
ual features might have had as little promise as they seem to bear in 
a portrait * of him now before me belonging to his brother Henry, 
and taken in his thirtieth year. The eye is fine; but black hair 
covers all the forehead, and you recognize the face of the later time 
quite without its fulness, power, and animation. The stubbornness 
is there, without the softness; the self-will untamed by any ex- 
perience ; plenty of energy, but a want of emotion. The nose was 
never particularly good ; and the lifted brow, flatness of cheek and 
jaw, wide upper lip, retreating mouth and chin, and heavy neck, 
peculiarities necessarily prominent in youth, in age contributed only 
to a certain lion look he liked to be reminded of, and would confirm 
with a loud, long laugh hardly less than leonine. Higher and higher 
went peal after peal, in continuous and increasing volleys, until 
regions of sound were reached very far beyond ordinary human 
lungs, f 

* There is an engraving of this portrait of him in his thirtieth year, and another of a 
painting of him by Boxall on the eve of his seventy-«iglith birthday. With BoxalPs 
work he was greatly pleased, and wished it to appear in any posthumous edition of his 
writings. " I care little," he wrote to me in December, 1852, " how many folks look at 
me when it is clear and evident that I do not step out to be looked at. If I have any 
vanity or affectation, let me at least have the merit of concealing it. No author, liv- 
ing of dead, ever kept himself so deeply in the shade throughout every season of life. 
Perhaps when I am in the grave, curiosity may be excited to know what kind of 
countenance that creature had who imitated nobody, and whom nobody imitated; the 
man who walked through the crowd of poets and prose-men and never was touched by 
any one's skirts ; who walked up to the ancients and talked with them familiarly, but 
never took a sup of wine or a crust of bread in their houses. If this should happen, aiid 
it probably will within your lifetime, then let the good people see the old man's bead 

t There is 90 good a description of this laugh in a clever article of the London 
Quarterly Review, shortly after Landor's death, that the reader will thank me for 


With this accompaniment I have heard him relate one Rugby 
anecdote that is certainly authentic Throwing his net one morning 
in a stream to which access on some previous occasion had been 
refused to him, the farmer who owned the land came down upon him 
suddenly ; very angry words were exchanged ; and Landor,' comply- 
ing quite unexpectedly with a peremptory demand for his fishing 
apparatus, flung the net over the farmer's head with such faultless 
precision as completely to entangle in its meshes his enraged adver- 
sary, and reduce him to easy submission. Nor did he less riotously 
laugh at the relation of one of his many differences with the head- 
master in his later years at the school, when he would entangle him 
as suddenly in questions of longs and shorts ; and the Doctor, going 
afterwards good-naturedly to visit him in his private room, would 
knock vainly for admission at the bolted study-door, from within 
which Landor, affecting to discredit the reality of the visit or the 
voice, and claiming there his right to protest against all intrusion of 
the profane, would devoutly ejaculate, Avaunt, Satan / 

Among his school-fellows was Butler, afterwards head-master of 
Shrewsbury and Bishop of Lichfield ; but Landor had the reputation 
in the school of being the best classic. The excellence of his Latin 
verses was a tradition at Rugby for half a century after he left ; and I 
one of the fags of his time, a peer's son, has described the respectful I 
awe with which he read one day on the slate, in the handwriting of 
Doctor James himself, "Play-day for Landor's Latin verses. " His 
familiarity with Greek was less conspicuous, that language having 
become his more especial study only in later years ; and there is J 
doubtless some truth in the playful allusion of one of his letters \ 
written when he was eighty-four. " I have forgotten my Greek, of 
which I had formerly as much as boys of fifteen have now. Butler, 
afterwards Bishop of Lichfield, and myself, were the first at Rugby, or[ 
I believe, any other school, who attempted a Greek verse. Latin I 
still possess a small store of." * But what would seem most to have 
marked itself out as peculiar in his mastery of both Greek and Latin, 
even so early as his Rugby days, was less what masters could teach 
him than what Nature herself had given him This was a character 
and habit of mind resembling closely that of the ancient writers ; 
ways of seeing and thinking nearly akin to theirs ; the power, sudden 
as thought itself, of giving visual shape to objects of thought ; and 
with all this,- intense energy of feeling, and a restless activity of 

quoting it The writer is speaking of Landor's morning calls in Bath, with his small 
romeranian dog, as event? to the friend* he visited. K He used to enounce the most 
wi-j? opinions; and when some sentiment more extravagant than the rest had excited 
the laughter of his audience, he would sit silent until thev had finished laughing, then 
ne would begin to shake, then to laugh aloud, piano at first, but with cretcendo steadily 
advancing to the loudest/orrtwimo ; whereupon Pomero would spring out from his lair, 
leap mto his master's lap, add his bark to Landor's roar, until the mingled volume of 
fmnds would swell from the room into the sleepy streets, and astonish, if not scandal- 
ize, the somewhat torpid Bathonians who might be passing by." 
* Letter to Lady Sawle, 8th February, 1868. 


imagination, eager to reproduce themselves in similar forms of vivid 
and picturesque expression. It was this that gave originality to his 
style, even while he most appeared to, be modelling himself upon 
antiquity. He had the Greek love of the clear, serene, and graceful, 
of the orderly and symmetrical ; he had the Greek preference for 
impulsive rather than reflective forms of imagination; and he had 
the sense of material grandeur, and the eager sympathy with 
domestic as well as public life, peculiar to the Latin genius. In this 
way to the last he was more himself of the antique Soman or Greek 
than of a critical student of either tongue ; although the marvellous 
facility with which he had been writing Latin verse from his youth 
gave ^im always a power over that language which might well 
supply the place of more severe requirements of scholarship. Very 
largely also during all his life had the power contributed to his own 
enjoyment ; and it is in this view, rather than in the light of tasks 
or lessons, we have to speak of his classical attainments even so far 
back as his boyhood. Such acquaintance with parsing, syntax, and 
prosody as the Rugby exercises at that time called for, cost him, of 
course, no effort ; and long before he had formally qualified for the 
rank he was practically the first Latinist in the school. His tutor 
was Doctor Sleath, the late prebend of St. Paul's ; * but though this 
good man had some influence over him, it was exerted in vain to 
induce him to compete for a prize poem. " I never would contend 
at school," he wrote in one of his last letters to Southey, " with any 
one for anything. I formed the same resolution when I went to 
college, and I have kept it." With something of the shyness that 
avoided competition, there was more of the pride that would acknowl- 
edge no competitor ; and he was, in truth, never well disposed to 
anything systematized either in pursuits or studies. What he did 
best and worst, he did in his earliest as his latest life for the satisfac- 
tion of his own will or pleasure. 

The subject thus adverted to will frequently recur, and frank con- 
fession of my want of qualification to speak of it critically must ac- 
company all remarks of my own. I will yet venture to say of his 
Latin verse, which he wrote as abundantly as English and of which 
he had himself the higher opinion, that I believe more of the pleas- 
ure of original poetrv to be derivable from it than from any other 
modern Latinitv ; and though here and there it seems to "me to be 
somewhat difficult in construction, it has never anything of the 
schoolmaster's expletives or phrases, but in that as in other respects 
may be read as if a Roman himself had written it. Nor is it loss 
certainly to be said of his Greek, that, though he more rarely com- 
posed in that language, he had the sense inseparable from a poet and 

* Among his papers T found interesting proof that age had not obscured his recollec- 
tion of kindnesses received nt Rugbv, in the copv of a note he had sent with his Col- 
lected Works in 1846 to his old tutor; " My dear Dr. Sleath : Do not fatigue your eyes 
with reading the smnll print I send you; but accept it graciously from your ever 
obliged and affectionate Wi Labdor." 


scholar of the vast superiority of its literature, and derived from it 
an influence that in his own original writing became strikingly 
risible. He is one of the dozen men in a generation who can be said 
to have read Plato through* in his own tongue ; and when he had 
passed his eighty-fifth year he read in the original Greek the whole 
of the Odyssey. I will add a remark from one of his brother's let- 
ters : " At school and college he had gained superiority over his 
companions, and, seventy years ago, very little Greek was sufficient 
for such distinction. There are better scholars passing from our 
public schools now than were then the fellows of my college who had 
taken their master's degree. But Walter increased his Latin all his 
life long, because he had pleasure in it. He had also a fondness for 
the derivation of words : reading the Port-Royal Grammar" twice 
through, and Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary once.* But it was not 
till after he had left England and was preparing to qualify himself 
for the Imaginary Conversation* and Pericles and Aspasia, that he 
applied his thoughts thoroughly to Greek literature ; and even then 
his reading was very confined. His friends must regret his estimate 
of Plato especially. But there was no deception, no false pretence, 
in his criticisms. He did not affect more scholarship than he pos- 
sessed : but because his contemporaries had once been inferior to him, 
he believed that they must ever remain at the same distance from 
him ; that they must be inferior still ; and hence the appearance of 
too much pretension. Compared with such scholars as the Univer-/ 
sities are producing now, he was a very idle student, idle indeed. I 
You will accept these opinions of mine as worth hardly a moment's! 
consideration, unless they are confirmed by your own ; for I am now, 
and ever have been, as ill qualified to estimate Walter as he was to 
estimate Plato. Parr once described him to me as a most excellent 
Latin scholar with some creditable knowledge of Greek ; and I be- 
lieve that not much more could be said fifty years later. Nor did he 
pretend to more." • 

Of any taste as yet developed in him for particular branches of 
English reading or study, there is no trace ; but one of his letters to 
Southey in 1811 tells us of his first literary purchase : "The two 
first books I ever bought were at the stall of an old woman at Rugby. 
They happened to be Baker's Chronicle and Drayton's Polyolbion. I 
was very fond of both because they were bought by me. They were 
my own ; and if I did not read them attentively, my money would 
have been thrown away, and I must have thought and confessed my- 
self injudicious. 1 have read neither since, and 1 never shall possess 
either again. It is melancholy to think with how much more fond- 
ness and pride the writers of those days contemplated whatever was 
belonging to Old England. People now, in praising any scene or 
event, snarl all the while, and attack their neighbors for not praising. 

* ** Of the Greek Grammar," he tells Southey in one of his letters, " I knew so 
little at seventeen that I read over the Port-Royal yearly for more than twenty years." 


They feel a consciousness that the foundations of our greatness are 
impaired, and have occasioned a thousand little cracks and crevices 
to let in the cold air upon our comforts. Ah, Nassau and Oliver ! — 
Quis vobis tertiua haeres ? " Certainly neither Sidmouth nor Castle- 
reagh, Southey would himself have answered ; and the mere tone of 
the question is some proof that the purchase from the old woman's 
stall was indeed a good one, and that to have read " attentively " at 
this time of life two such hearty old lovers of their country as Baker 
and Drayton had left a wholesome impression on this Rugby boy. 

On the same form with him and Butler, all four having entered at 
about the same time, were Henry Cary and Walter Birch, both of 
them also Landor's contemporaries at Oxford. Writing from Flor- 
ence at* nearly the close of his eighty-fifth year,* he says : " Do not 
despise Cary's Dante, It is wonderful how he could have turned the 
rhymes of Dante into unrhymed verse with any harmony : he has 
done it. Poor Cary ! I remember him at Rugby and Oxford. He 
was the friend of my friend Walter Birch, whom I fought at Rugby, 
and who thrashed me well. He was a year older, and a better boxer : 
we were intimate ever afterwards, till his death." f Many letters re- 
main to attest this intimacy, which, a few years after Landor's brief 
residence at Oxford, his brother Robert closely shared on coming into 
residence at Worcester College ; Birch having by that time obtained a 
fellowship at Magdalen, and deservedly high repute among the most 
distinguished men in the other colleges. His elder brother was 
second master at Rugby; J and Landor often generously spoke of 
Walter Birch himself as having been the best Rugby scholar, as well 
as the boy with whom he had formed his closest and indeed his only 
real friendship. "I see this morning," he wrote to me in 1854, 
"that Routh, the President of Magdalen, is dead. He was made 
president just before I entered the university. The first scholar ad- 
mitted to his college after the election was my friend Walter Birch, 
the best scholar at Rugby, not excepting Butler. • We used to walk 
together in Addison's walk along the Cherwell. From Rugby we had 
often gone to Bilton, one mile off, a small estate bought by Addison, 
where his only daughter, an old fat woman of weak intellect, was 
then living, and lived a good while after, — three or four years. 
Surelv I must have assisted in another life ! n 

Beyond such glimpses as these there is little more to relate of his 
Rugby days. Though he had not many intimacies in the school, he 

• October 28, 1860: the letter is addressed to Mr. Robert Lytton. 

t " Cary," the letter goes on in characteristic fashion, " had some subordinate place 
in the British Museum. He was a learned and virtuous man. Our ministers of stnte 
were never more consistent than in their neglect of him. One would imagine that 
they were all poets, onlv that they did not snarl or scowl at him." 

( To this brother of his friend 'Landor sent a copy of his Collected Works in 1846 
with the subjoined note: " My dear Dr. Birch: My old friendship with your brother 
Walter, my only one at Rugby, gives me a righfof sending to you what it is the will 
of Providence that I cannot send to him. Accept it as a mark of my esteem for your 
manly character and graceful erudition; and believe me, my dear Dr. Birch, your* 
sincerely, W. S. Lakdor." 


was generally popular and respected, and used his influence often to 
save the younger boys from undue harshness or violence. This is 
mentioned in some recent recollections by one who was with him at 
Rugby ; and an illustration may be added from a letter of his brother 
Henry's, ^when both had passed their seventieth year : "Do you 
think I ever forgot your kindness to me at Rugby, in threatening 
another boy who ill-used me if he again persisted in similar conduct ? 
Or your gift of money to me at that time, when I verily believe you 
had not another shilling left for your own indulgences ? w * A like 
interference on behalf of another school-fellow of his own standing, 
with whom otherwise he had little in common, led to an intimacy 
that should be mentioned here ; not for anything it adds to our 
knowledge of his school-days,t but because it brought pleasant asso- 
ciations to his later life. Between him and Fleetwood Parkhurst, son 
of an old Worcestershire squire descended from the Fleetwoods and 
Dormers, there was a discordance of taste and temper in most things ; 
yet their connection survived the Rugby time ; they met frequently 
after their school-days ; they visited each other's families ; Parkhurst 
was the only Rugby boy who went with him to the same college at 
Oxford ; and they travelled on occasions together until quite thrown 
asunder by a quarrel, J which nevertheless in no respect abated the 
affection already conceived for his son's friend by the elder Mr. Park- 
hurst, and continued through the old squire's life. At Ripple Court, 
on the banks of the Severn, the family house, there was for years no 
happier guest; and when nearly half a century had passed, and 
Fleetwood's youngest sister had wedded a public man of distinction 
to be named later in this narrative, Landor reminded her of days still 
gratefully remembered. 

• Henry to "Walter Landor: Tachbrooke, 2d January, 1847. 

t I shall be forgiven for quoting a letter to myself of August, 1851, as well for its 
incidental mention of Rugby, and its other amusing references, as for its closing allu- 
sion to Walter Birch and Coplestone, Mentioning a writer " who likes to be fine," as 
having been ** scornful at ladies (by possibility) eating with, their knives," he goes on: 
u He means using them as we generally use forks. Everybody did it before silver- 
pronged forks were common. Wnen I was at Rugby we had only steel forks of three 
prongs. Verily do I believe, on recollection, that they were only of two until the age 
grew delicate. It is probable that our Sardanapalus George the' Fourth had no silver 
fork at eight or nine years of age. Coryat, in his Crudities, is horrified at the luxury 
of the Venetians, among whom he first saw such a portent. I once observed a French 
lady of high rank, no less a personage than a duchess, not only use her knife as a baker 
use* his shovel, but pick her teeth with it. resting her elbow on the table. In France 
the Graces seem to leave the room when the ladies sit down to dinner. They are cer- 
tainly more free and easy at such times than ours are. Nine in ten of ours would 
think it indecorous to cut their turbot, but would rather tear it in pieces, and besmear 
their plates with it. The more fools they, — as well as the more inelegant. Turbot, 
by the fork alane, is almost as indomitable as venison. If I were anybody of conse- 
quence, I should like to shock Squire 's ultra-Chesterfieldism by a display of my 

manipulation on a turbot four inches thick. He should see the precision or my quad- 
ratnres. I am glad you think highly of Coplestone. He was the friend of my friend 
Walter Birch, wlio had only a single unwortny one, Walter Landor." 

| I find in one of Landor' s letters of 1844 a reference to the close of the life of this 
companion of his youth. He had fallen dead in the streets of Bristol. " Little as 
poor Parkhurst is to be respected, I am shocked and grieved at his death. A happier 
one, however, there could not be. I shall often think of our early friendship and our 
"nppier days." 


" Where Malvern's verdant ridges gleam 

Beneath the morning ray, 
Look eastward : see Sabrina's stream 

Roll rapidly away. .... 
The lord of these domains was one 
Who loved me like an only son/' * 

Remaining at Rugby till he was past his fifteenth year, he had 
1 meanwhile been joined there by his younger brothers Charles and 
\ Henry ; and in a letter to the latter written in 1847 we get our first 
i glimpse of their father, Doctor Landor, at this early time. Naming 
i some communication received from the head of the Lawley family, he 
says Lord Wenlock had reminded him that their families had been 
intimate for sixty years, but that his own memory carries him further 
back. "It is sixty-five years since Sir Robert Lawley stood god- 
father to our brother Robert. I was at Canwell (so was Charles) 
with my father when I was about eleven years old. We went cours- 
ing, for we rode our ponies. One morning we went into the stable, 
and Sir Robert said to my father, stopping in a certain spot, * Landor, 
how many bottles of port have we drank together just about here ] ' 
' Better talk of dozens, Sir Robert/ said my father. He and his 
father must have known my grandfather, for he quoted as a saying 
of his father's that my grandfather was an honest doff for a Jacobite, 
and screamed with laughter as he said it." It was but a year after 
this incident that young Walter had a visitor who might have 
se'emed not wholly unconnected with those dozens of port, and to 
have brought him unsought and premature instalment of his entailed 
estates of inheritance. The alarm was a false one, this particular 
legacy going to his younger brothers ; but the reader will appreciate 
the quiet humor with which one of them, who received from his 
father no better portion, tells the tale. 

" Though followed," writes Mr. Robert Landor, " by two younger 
brothers as soon as they could be received at Rugby, there remains 
nothing worth recording till he was twelve years old, — when a vio- 
lent fit of the gout — gout which might have qualified him for an al- 
derman — restored him to his mother's care at Warwick. Never was 
i there a more impatient sufferer; and his imprecations, divided equally 
J between the gout and his nurses, were heard afar. It is also strange 

' * The poem from which these lines are taken was Bent to Mrs. Rosenhagen in Mar, 
1889, with a letter, in which he tells her: "I am not quite bo young as I was, nor 

?uite so free from cares and infirmities as you remember me at Ripr>le. Believe me, 
very often think of the very kind friends who received mo there with such cordiality. 
Your father was as fond of me as if I had been his son ; and never did I shed so many 
tears for the loss of anv man." In one of his letters of 1630, from Florence, he Drays 
his sister Elizabeth not to omit to tell her that he often thinks of the many happy 
days he spent at Ripple. " I believe I should shed tears if I saw the place again. No 
person in my earlv days was so partial to me as her fatheT was." Finally, let me give 
from another of his letters a dialogue (not altogether imaginary) illustrative of this 
friend of his youth. " My excellent old friend, Mr. Parkhurst, was appointed by Lord 
North to be one of the commissaries to the armies in North America. On his return he 
met Lord North in the Park. * What, Parkhurst! you a commissary! and in your old 
family coach V 'Yes, my lord! thank God! awl without a shilling more in my 
pocket than when I set out* ' A pretty thing to thank God for ! * rejoined my lord." 

£7. x-22.] AT SCHOOL AT RUGBY* 17 

that there never was any return of this disorder. Our father suffered 
from it, and all three of the younger brothers ; but though Walter's • 
Appetite much surpassed the best of ours (or the worst), he escaped \ 
it during more than seventy years. However active at dinner, he 
•as always temperate after it ; and I never saw the smallest sign of 
excess, though he greatly enjoyed three or four glasses of light 
vine. He remained at Rugby till fifteen or sixteen, and gained the 
character of more than common scholarship by his Latin verses es- 
pecially. However violent his temper might have been, I think that 
he was liked as well as respected by his school-fellows ; for some of 
them, whom I knew many years later, always remembered him with ', 


But, before finally quitting Rugby, an event of importance in a 
poet's life is to be recorded. While still in the school, and not more 
than fourteen, he had written his first original verses ; with a certain . 
sobriety of tone as well as absence of commonplace in the metre not 1 
usual in so young a beginner, and probably derived from exercises ' 
previously made in translations of which we can premise a word or 
two on his own authority. " The only Latin metre I ever tried in 
English," he told Southey when thanking him for his Vision of Judg- 
ment in 1824, " is the Sapphic. This is extremely easy. When I was 
at Rugby I wrote a vast number, and some few at Oxford. My ear- 
liest attempt was the translation of Sappho's odes : of which I remem- 
ber only a part of the first stanza, — no very good specimen. First I 
had written, ' O Venus, goddess ' ; afterwards, * Venus ! goddess 
both of earth and heaven.' The next I forget. The third was, 

1 From the sublime throne variously tinged 

Hear my petition ! ' 


This sort of practice was no bad preparation for his first original 
attempt, made upon a cousin's marriage at her own request, and on 
the whole not worse or better than such things commonly are. But 
more interesting than the verses themselves is the letter I find with 
them in his papers, indorsed by himself " Miss Norris," addressed to 
"Mr. Landor, at Rugby," and written from his father's house in 
Warwick. The writer, who was of the family from whom his mother 
derived the estates of Ipsley and Tachbrooke, had obtained some 
influence over him, and here uses it to confirm what was best in his 
tastes and temper, with Correction of what was worst in both. She 
thanks him for his poetry, thinks it exceeedingly pretty, and wonders 
he should hesitate a moment to present it to the lady who requested 
he would write it for her. He is to recollect that at his age people 
are not to expect a Milton or a Pope ; and that should any inaccura- 
cies occur, which she assures him she has not been able to discover, 
they will be attributed to youth and inexperience. She says that 
Mrs. Landor desires her love to him, and hopes he received her letter 
and some pigeons she had sent for him and his brothers. She sends 



Doctor Lander's respects ; and says he has not been able to find for 
her an earlier poetical piece containing Walter's thoughts on public 
and private education, which he had wished that she should read. 
" I cannot help," she continues, " admiring your way of employing- 
your time. Youth is doubtless the season for study and improve- 
ment; and though we may not at all times find it agreeable, yet 
when we consider how despicable a figure the ignorant and unin- 
formed make, it excites us to persevere with unceasing industry. I 
think you are much in the right to make the most learned your 
friends and companions ; but permit me to say, that though I think 
a proper spirit commendable and even necessary at times, yet in my 
opinion it is better to submit sometimes to those under whose au- 
thority we are, even when we think they are in fault, than to run the 
risk of being esteemed arrogant and self-sufficient. * The date of the 
letter is the 23d of September, 1790, little more than a year after 
the fall of the Bastille ; and the revolt against authority it rebukes 
with such wise tenderness has relation to one of the many differences 
between the scholar and his master which had occurred at this time. 
Landor was afterwards so willing to forget these encounters, and to 
recall nothing of the old doctor not kindly and grateful, that the allu- 
sion to them now shall be brief. 

He seems to have thought, when in the school, that Doctor James 
either would not or could not appreciate what he did in Latin verse, 
and that when he was driven to take special notice of it, he took the 
Worst, and not the best, for the purpose. Thus, when told very gra- 
ciously on one occasion to copy out fairly in the Play-book 'verses by 
himself of which he thought indifferently, Landor in* making the 
copy put private additions to it of several lines, with a coarse allusion 
beginning, " Hrec sunt malorum pessima carminum quee Landor un- 
quam scripsit," <kc. This offence was forgiven ; but it was followed 
by another of which the Circumstances were such as to render it 
impossible that he should continue longer in the school. The right 
at first was on Landor's side, for Doctor James had strongly insisted 
on, and the other as firmly had declined, the correction of an alleged 
false quantity found really not to exist. But, apart from the right or 
wrong of the dispute, an expression in the course of it rudely used by 
the pupil, and not necessary to be repeated here, was very sharply 
resented by the master; and when the matter came to be talked 
about, only one result was possible. "When between fifteen and 
sixteen," writes Mr. Robert Landor, "he was not expelled from 
Rugby, but removed as the less discreditable punishment, at the 
head-master's suggestion. Thero was nothing unusual or disgraceful 
in the particular transgression, but a fierce defiance of all authority, 
and a refusal to ask forgiveness." 

Yet not so should we part from his Rugby days. He has himself 
given a picture of one of the latest of them appealing to kindlier 
remembrance. Sitting by the square pool not long before he left, he 

ST. 1-22.] AT ASHBOURNE. 19 

had written a little poem on Godiva ; and, in a note to his Imaginary 
Conversation on the charming old Warwickshire story, he not only 
relates how the school-fellow to whom he showed his earlier effort 
laughed at him, and how earnestly he had to entreat and implore  
him not to " tell the other lads," but he repeats the verses. With 
which, as he transcribes them in his villa at Fiesole, there comes 
back to him the very air of the school-boy spot in which first they 
were written, and fervently he wishes that the peppermint may still 
be growing on the bank by the Rugby pool. It is a pretty picture, 
and the lines themselves are of a kind to haunt the memory. 

" In every boar, in every mood, 
O lady, it is sweet and good 

To bathe the soul in prayer; 
And, at the close of such a day, 
When we have ceased to bless and pray, 

To dream on thy long hair." 


Rugby had, nevertheless, given pretty nearly all in the way of 
scholarship she had to give to Landor, when he was thus, though still 
too young for the university, compelled to bid her adieu. An inter- 
mediate place between school and college it was necessary to provide ; 
and, writes Mr. Robert Landor, " at sixteen he was consigned to the\ 
tuition of a clergyman living in Derbyshire who had no other pupil, i 
and who seemed well qualified for the office by patience and gentle- 1 
ness. Walter always spoke of him with respect ; but though by no 
means ignorant, the tutor had very little more scholarship than the 
pupil, and his Latin verses were hardly so good as Walter's." This 
was Mr. Langley, Vicar of Ashbourne, — the charming country village .' 
Landor has so prettily described in his delightful conversation of 
Walton, Cotton, and Oldways, where he takes occasion also to render 
tribute to his worthy old tutor, and makes Walton say of such mas- 
ters and their scholars that they live like princes, converse like 
friends, and part like lovers. " He would take only one private 
pupil," he says in a note to that conversation, " and never had but 
me. The kindness of him and his wife to me was parental. They 
died nearly together, about five-and-twenty years ago. Never was a 
youth blessed with three such indulgent and affectionate private 
tutors as I was ; before by the elegant and generous Doctor John 
Sleath at Rugby, and after by the saintly Ben well at Oxford." In a 
letter to myself written hardly eleven years ago, he makes another 
allusion to these days passed in Derbyshire between sixty and sev- 
enty years before which may be worth preserving.* " My old tutor 
at Ashbourne, poor dear Langley, had seen Pope when he came to 

• Other similar allusions were frequent; as in a letter to me of 1851. " It is exactly 
tirty years since I saw Chatsworth. I was at that time under a privnte tutor at Ash- 
bourne, having just left Rugby, and being a little too young for Oxford." 


visit Oxford from Lord Harcourt's at Nuneham. Doctor Harrington 
of Oceana's family dined at Allen's, where he did not meet Pope, but 
did meet Fielding. Pope, I believe, was then dead. Harrington was 
almost a boy, fourteen or fifteen years old. He sat at dinner by his 
father, and Fielding on the other side. Warburton was there, and 
with great pomposity made a speech eulogistic of Allen, who had 
said a few words, modest and unimportant. ' Gentlemen,' said War- 
burton,. ' many of us have enjoyed the benefits of a university educa- 
tion, but which among us can speak so wisely and judiciously?' 
Fielding turned his face round to Harrington and said pretty loudly, 

' Hark to that sycophantic son of a of a parson ! ' I doubt 

whether the double genitive case was ever so justly (however inele- 
gantly) employed." * When recollections such as these came back to 
Landor, he might be pardoned the exclamation we have lately heard 
from him, that surely he must have assisted in another life ! Born 
in the year when the English colonies in America rebelled; living 
through all the revolutions in France, and the astonishing career of 
the great Napoleon ; a sympathizer with the defeated Paoli and the 
victorious Garibaldi ; contemporary with Cowper and Burns, yet the 
survivor of Keats, Wordsworth, and Byron, of Shelley, Scott, and 
Southey; living while Gibbon's first volume and Macaulay's last 
Were published ; to whom Pitt and Fox, and even Burke, had been 
familiar, as were Peel and Russell ; who might have heard Mirabeau 
attempting to save the French Monarchy, and Mr. Gladstone predict- 
ing the disruption of the American Republic, — it would seem strange 
that a single life should be large enough for such experiences, if their 
very number and variety did not suggest the exaggeration of impor- 
tance that each in its turn is too apt to receive from us all, and 
impress us rather with the wisdom of the saying of the greatest of 

poets, that 

" We are such stuff 
As dreams are made of ; and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep." 

When the two years at Ashbourne were passed, they had left some 
profitable as well as pleasant remembrances. He dated from this 
time his better acquaintance with some of the Greek writers, espe- 
cially Sophocles and Pindar ; he turned several things of Cowley into 

* I permit myself to add, as every way very characteristic of the writer, then on the 
eve of his eightieth year, the closing lines of this letter of my old friend. He wan 
waiting at the time the visit I generally paid him on his birthday. " In the twentieth 
year of the British Republic some old 'man may recount tales of you and me. He will 
not be a very old man, if public affairs are managed another year as they have been this 

* Forster! come hither, I pray, to the Fasbof our Anglican Martyr. 
Turbot our Church has allowed, and perhaps (not without dispensation) 
Pheasant: then strawberry-cream, green-gages, and apricot-jelly, 
Oranges housewives calljio/, and red-rinded nuts of Avella, 
Filberts we name them at home, — happy they who have teeth for the crackers! 
Blest, but in lower degree, whose steel-armed right hand overcomes them ! 
I, with more envy than spite, look on and sip sadly my claret' " - 

*T. I -22. J AT ASHBOTJBNB. 21 

Latin Sapphics and Alcaics ; he wrote a few English pieces ; and he 
translated into Terse the Jephthah of Buchanan, a poem afterwards 
destroyed, but of which he had himself so high an opinion that he 
said he could not have improved it even after he wrote Gebir. I 
should strongly have doubted this, upon examination of several poems 
of the present date, preserved in the volume collected and printed 
four years later, for he was still within the trammels of Pope's versi-V 
fication, and though in conception often original, in execution was still 
almost always imitative ; but that other indisputable evidence is be- 
fore me of the higher character given gradually to his own style by 
the mere effort of translating. There was indeed but one stride to 
be taken to Gebir, which appeared within three years after the volume 
referred to ; and the reader will probably admit, at that portion of 
my narrative, that a more remarkable advance in power was never 
made, and rarely such an achievement in literature by a man so 
young. Let me show meanwhile, by example of a poem written at 
Ashbourne,* in what different ways the same subject was treated now 
and in the days that were so soon to follow of his greater maturity 
of mind. It is the difference between a Pope translation and a Greek 

Medea at Cobiwth (1791). 

" So, when Medea, on her native strand, 
Beheld the Argo lessen from the land ; 
The tender pledges of her love she bore, 
Frantic, ana raised them high above the shore. 
' Thus, thus may Jason, faithless as he flies, 
Faithless, and heedless of Medea's cries. 
Behold his babes, oppose the adverse gales, 
And turn to Colcnis those retiring sails.' 
She spake: in vain: then maddened with despair 
Tore ner pale cheeks and undulating hair. 
Then, 0, unmindful of all former joys. 
Threw from her breast her inoffensive boys ; 
Their tender limbs and writhing fibres tore, 
And whirled around the coast the inexpiable gore! " 

The same Subject (a few year* later). 

"'Stay! spare him! save the last 1 . . . 
I will invoke the Eumenides no more — 
I will forgive thee — bless thee — bend to thee 
In all thy wishes ! do but thou, Medea, 
Tell me, one lives ! ' * And shall I, too, deceive ? • 
Cries from the fiery car an angry voice ; 
And swifter than two falling stars descend 
Two breathless bodies, — warm, soft, motionless 
As flowers in stillest noon before the sun, 
They lie three paces from him. Such they lie, 
As when he left them sleeping side by side, 
A mother's arm round eacn, a mother's cheeks 
Between them, flusht with happiness and love. 
He was more changed than they were, — doomed to show 

• In a note to one of its lines on the misfortunes of the King of France he remarks, 
that M when this wa* written Louis had only returned to Paris after his flight," which 
w«s In 1791; and to the fate which afterwards befell the king he applies a passage from 
the EUctr* of Sophocles. 



Thee and the stranger, how defaced and scarred 
Grief hunts us down the precipice of years ! " 

Even in the earliest poem here quoted, however, which contains 
also a paraphrase from Cowley, there is greater merit than the Medea 
passage would indicate. In single verses occasionally there is a happy 
delicacy of touch, as in the picture of Eve : — 

M And her locks of gold 
Gales, airy-fingered, negligently hold." 

From time to time, too, a personal trait is given with extraordinary 
force; as where he states his preference for nature and enjoyment 
over studies and self-mortification. 

" Thus, throughout nature everv part affords 
* More sound instruction than from * winged words.' 

By me more felt, more studied, than the rules 
Of pedants strutting in sophistic schools ; 
i Who, argumentative, with endless strife, 

In search of living lose the ends of life; 
Or, willing exiles from fair pleasure'^ train, 
Howl at the happy from the dens of pain." 

Of those same " winged words " that could offer instruction higher 
than the schools he speaks also not unworthily. 

14 Had verse not led in adamantine chains 
The victims sacrificed on Dion's plains, 
Who would have heard of Hector? who have known 
The rage of Peleus's immortal son? " 

Nor will space be grudged for a few couplets more ; from a poem not 
now obtainable, and which shows Landor^s mastery in writing when 
he had hardly entered his seventeenth year. He describes the origin 
of pipe and pastoral. 

u By bounteous rivers, 'mid his flocks reclined 
He heard the reed that rustled in the wind. 
Then, leaning onward, negligently tore 
The slender stem from off the fringed shore. 
With mimic breath the whisper soft assayed — 
When, lo ! the yielding reed nis mimic breath obeyed. 
'T was hence, erelong, the pleasing power he found 
Of noted numbers and of certain sound. 
Each morn and eve their fine effect he tried, 
Each morn and eve he blest the river's reedy side I " 

Poets of the highest originality take their point of departure from 
an imitative stage, and Landor in these verses shows no exemption 
from the rule. But from the first the influence of his classical studies 
and temperament is more than ordinarily manifest, and the complete- 
ness and rapidity with which it formed his original style is worthy of 
remark. I have hinted at this in allusion to his Jephthah translation. 
A marked instance has been given in the second version of the Medea 
just quoted ; and another more extraordinary presents itself in a 
translation of one of the most famous episodes in Virgil, which 1 


kre found in scraps of his handwriting of the date of 1794, and 
vitk which I shall close this section. * 

" The shell assuaged his sorrow: thee he sang, 
Sweet wife ! thee with him on the shore alone, 
At rising dawn, at parting day, sane thee. 
The mouth of Taenarus, the gates of Dis, 
Groves dark with dread, he entered; he approaoht 
The Manes and their awful king, and hearts 
That knew not pity yet for human prayer. 
Boused at his song, the Shades of Erebus ' 

Rose from their lowest, most remote, abodes, 
Faint Shades, and Spirits semblances of life; 
Numberless as o'er woodland wilds the birds 
That wintry evening drives or mountain storm; 
Mothers and husbands, unsubstantial crests 
Of high-souled heroes, boys, unmarried maids, 
And youths on biers before their parents' eyes. 
The deep black ooze and rough unsightly reed 
Of slow Cocytus's unyielding pool 
And Styx confines them, flowing ninefold round. 
The halls and inmost Tartarus of Death, 
And (the blue adders twisting in their hair) 
The Furies, were astounded. 

On he stept, 
And Cerberus held agape his triple jaws : 
On stept the Bard . . . Ixion's wheel stood stilL 

Now, past all peril, free was his return, 
And now was following into upper air 
Eurydice, when sudden madness seized 
The incautious lover: pardonable fault, 
If those below could pardon: on the verge 
Of light he stood, ana on Eurydice, 
Mindless of fate, alas, and soul-subdued, 
Looktback ... 

There, Orpheus ! Orpheus ! there was all 
Thy labor shed, there burst the dynast's bond, 
And thrice arose that rumor from the lake. 

* Ah, what,' she cried, * what madness hath undone 
Me, and (ah, wretched!) thee, my Orpheus, too! 
For. lo ! the cruel Fates recall me now, 
Chill slumbers press my swimming eyes . . . farewell ! 
Night rolls intense around me as I spread 
My helpless arms .- . . thine, thine no more ... to thee.' 

She spake, and (like a vapor) into air 
Flew, nor oeheld him as he claspt the void 
And sought to speak; in vain: the ferrv-guard 
Now would not row him o'er the lake again: 
His wife twice lost, what could he? whither go? 
What chant, what wailing, move the powers of Hell? 
Cold in the Stygian bark and lone was she ! 

Beneath a rock o'er Strymon's flood on high 
Seven months, seven long-continued months, 't is said, 
He breathed his sorrows in a desert cave, 
And soothed the tiger, moved the oak, with song. 
So Philomela 'mid the poplar shade 
Bemoans her captive brood : the cruel hind 
Saw them unplumed and took them : but all night 
Grieves she, and sitting on the bough, runs o'er 
Her wretched tale, and fills the woods with woe." 

% * Since this was written, I find that these very lines, with extremely trivial altera- 
tion, were printed by him in the Examiner thirty years ago, as having been " written 
at college." He subsequently reproduced them without that prefatory remark, bat 
with an interesting note, in his Dry Sticky 



Few ancient pieces have been chosen oftener by translators as a 
ground of competition ; yet, from Dryden to Wordsworth, there is no 
one who has excelled, if any has equalled, this translation by a youth 
of nineteen. Its minute fidelity to the spirit of the original I -will 
indicate by a touch which all the others have missed. They make 
the nightingale sitting on "a" bough, but Landor restores "the" 
bough ; the fatal bough from which the spoiler had taken her brood. 
But to me the lines are interesting, and are here specially given, for 
their illustration of the growth of his own genius. If I had met with 
them anywhere, not knowing the lines of Virgil, I should have sup- 
posed them to be an original poem of the writer's later life. He has 
| nevertheless not passed the imitative stage. His own thoughts have 
not yet found their style; Their written character is still to come. 



At eighteen years of age Landor entered as a commoner in Trinity 
College, Oxford. It was the memorable year of 1793, which had 
opened at Paris with the execution of Louis Seize. Of the excite- 
ment that prevailed; of the conflicting passions that were raging 
everywhere, grief on the one hand at the downfall of ancient institu- 
tions, exultation on the other at supposed triumphs of justice and 
reason, — it is needless to speak. To the young * it was natural to 
believe that a new world was opening ; and the glorious visions that 
attended it descended largely, it may well be imagined, on the stu- 
dents at both Universities. As Wordsworth says for himself, society 
became his glittering bride, and airy hopes his children. I cannot 
find, however, that Landor was at any time much excited in this way. 
The American rebellion was oftener in his thoughts than the French 
revolution. He was a Jacobin, but so would have been if Robespierre 
and Danton had not been. He reasoned little, but his instincts were 
all against authority, or what took to him the form of its abuse. 
With exulting satisfaction he saw the resistance and conquests of 
\ democracy ; but pantisocracy, and golden days to come on earth, were 
'not in his hopes or expectation. He rather rejoiced in the prospect 
of a fierce continued struggle ; his present ideal was that of an armed 
republic,t changing the face of the world ; and as the outbreak of 
. the revolution had not made him republican, neither did its excesses 
! cure him of that malady. He gloried to the last in avowing his pref- 
> erence for a republic ; though he would also date his hatred of the 
' French, which he maintained with almost equal consistency, from the 

* " Bliss was it in the dawn to be alive. 
But to be young was very Heaven ! " 

Wordsworth in Coleridge's Ode. 
The same words, with change of " the" for " that " in the first line, reappeared in his 
own Prelude, 

t Speaking to Southey of Napoleon's career in 181 1, he says: "This revives in my 
mind a toast I was accused of giving at Oxford: ' May there be only two classes of 
people, the republican and the paralytic ! ' " 



day when they slew their Queen. Mr. Shandy might have connected 
all' this with his birth on the anniversary of Charles the First's exe- 

He remained at Oxford little more than 4 year and a half, between i 
1793 and 1794, and used to call the hours passed with Walter Birch ' 
in the Magdalen walk by the half-hidden Cherwell (the road of which 
Addison was so fond) the pleasantest he could remember, as well as 
the most profitable. Of his studies there is little to be said. For a 
portion of the time he certainly read hard, but the result's he kept to 
himself; for here, as at Rugby, he declined everything in the shape 
of competition. "Though I wrote better Latin verses than any 
undergraduate or graduate in the University," he wrote to Dr. Davy, in i 
1857, ** I could never be persuaded, by my tutor or friends, to contend | 
for any prize whatever. I showed my compositions to Birch of Mag- 
dalen, my old friend at Rugby ; and to Cary, translator of Dante ; to 
none else." It is at the same time unquestionable that his extraor- 
dinary talents, and skill in both the ancient languages, had impressed 
greatly his tutor Benwell, and the president and fellows of Trinity ; 
and I have heard him say frequently that Benwell (" dear good Ben- 
well ") shed tears when his favorite pupil was obliged to quit the col- 
lege- But the Universities then, with far less inducement to study I 
than now, had even fewer restraints than at present exist for youths I 
unable to restrain themselves ; the license generally allowed left a { 
man quite equally free to use, abuse, or waste his powers ; and we ' 
have only to wonder how so many lads of fortune, so let loose at that 
critical time, could manage to get on in after life with any kind of 
credit. I hardly remember an allusion by Landor to the examination- 
halls or lecture-rooms, except that in the latter, one day, Jiwtin was 
given them to construe, and that though indignant at the choice of 
such an author, he was reconciled on finding there the story of the 
Phocceans, which he straightway began to turn into English blank 
verse, a measure he had not before attempted. 

One other subject tha£ interested him, however, finds mention in 
his letters. There is allusion in one of them to a small disquisition 
sent at this time to Dr. Parr, with whom an acquaintance, already 
formed at Warwick, was soon to ripen into intimacy. The object of 
the essay was to give opinion as to the origin of the religion of the 
Druids ; and its argument may be very briefly stated. It appeared 
to Landor that Pythagoras, who settled in Italy and had many fol- 
lowers in the Greek colony of the Phocseans at Marseilles, had in- 
grafted on a barbarous and blood-thirsty religion the human doctrine 
of the metempsychosis ; for that, finding it was vain to say, " Do not 
murder," as none ever minded that doctrine, he frightened the savages 
by saying, " If you are cruel even to beasts and insects, the cruelty 
will fall upon yourselves ; you will be the same." He explained also 
the " beans " of the old philosopher in the exact way that Coleridge 
took credit for afterwards originating ; though in this both moderns - 



had been anticipated by sundry other discoverers, beginning 1 with 
Plutarch himself.* 

But not always so philosophical or remote were his labors out of 
the lecture-room. Much, nearer lay London than either Justin or 
Pythagoras; the summer of 1794, when Landor's Oxford residence 
was about to draw to its close, was a time of unexampled excitement ; 
and some notice must be taken of the other than classical subjects in 
which his ardent temper engaged him. The Scotch judges had 
transported Muir and Palmer and Gerrard as felons, for desiring 
Parliamentary reform; the English judges were expected to hang 
Holcroft and Home Tooke as traitors for " corresponding " with the 
Bame desire ; and by all this Landor was stung into writing a satire, 

^ making himself interlocutor with a clerical friend. He listens to the 

j other's warning : — 

, "Hush! why complain? of treason have a care; 

You hear of Holcroft and of Tooke — beware 1 " 

and indignantly rejoins : — 

" Before a tyrant Juvenal displayed 
Truth's hated form and Satire's flaming blade; 
With hand unshaken bore her mirror-shield: 
Vice gazed and trembled, — shrieked and left the field. 
Shall 1 dissemble then ? " 

following up his question by vigorous denunciation of the war with 
France, and impassioned appeal to Poland, then just rising again : — 

" 0. bear no longer! longer canst thou bear 
Three royal ruffians thus thy rights to tear? 
Bights that thy guardian countryman has signed, 
Freedom's pure page, the lesson of mankind!" 

The friend again interposes : — 

" Mistaken youth ! the milder plan pursue, 
To love what statesmen and what monarchs do. 
Hence no political, no civil strife, 
Thy death will hasten, or torment thy life. 
In the same steps the greatest men have trod, 
Far our superiors." 

• See De Quincev's Autobiographic Sketches, pp. 146, 147, and note. I subjoin what 
Landor wrote to me in a letter of the 23d October. 1864. " To-day,havin£ liad a tooth 
drawn, and a jaw in danger of a divorce, I have been reading Mr. De Qumcey's Selec- 
tion*. I was amused at finding attributed to the sagacity of Coleridge a remark on 
Pythagoras and his beans. I made the same remark in a letter to Parr, which Dr. 
John Johnstone wished to publish with all rav others. It may be also found in the 
letters of PcricUs and Asporia, I believe. Mine to Parr was written in 1794 or there- 
abouts, and when the name of Coleridge had never reached me. These are estrays 
and waifs not worth claiming by the lord of the manor. Coleridge and Wordsworth 
are heartily welcome to a day's sport over any of my woodlands and heaths. I have 
no preserves." Since writing this note I have found among Landor's papers P arr 'j 
acknowledgment of the letter referred to. " Dear Walter," wrote the Kindly old 
scholar, " I thank you for your very acute and masterly reasoning about Pythagoras, 
but I am no convert to mVbeing in Gaul ; for the doctrine of transmigration is much 
older, and prevailed among the Celts and Scythians long before Pythagoras. It i* be- 
lieved, even now, in the north of Europe, and would naturally suggest itself to any 
reflecting barbarian. However, you have done very well in your hypothesis. I am, 
with great regard and respect, dear Walter, your sincere friend, S. Park." 


To which Landor : — 

"I believe mGwL 
This only reason, courtly priest ! I give. 
Go, cease to moralize: learn first to live.*' 

From three other poems of this date, none of them being elsewhere 
now accessible, brief extracts may also be permitted. The first illus- 
trates the war against liberty by picturing a French village, into \ 
which it had brought desolation, repaired again, and peace restored, 
by the arms of the Republic ; and both in the thought and in the 
form of the verse (which, as far as I am aware, he never again used), 
there is considerable beauty. The " arms unbound " is a touch of 
the happiest kind, — in its careless yet conscious keeping with the 
spirit of the poem. 

" 'Twas evening calm, when village maids 
With Gallia's tuneful sons advance 
To frolic in the jovial dance, 
'Mid purple vines and olive-shades. 

" Their ancient sires that round them sit 

Renew in thought their youthful days; 
Some try the tottering step, or praise 
Their former fame for gallant wit . . . 

" But, 0, the rulers of mankind 

Ruthless their fellow-creatures seize, 
Nor radiant eyes nor suppliant knees 
Of Beauty can their fury bind . . . 

" Smoke fills the air, and dims the day: 
No more the vine of matted green 
Or thin-leaved olive now are seen, 
Or bird upon the trembling spray . . • 

" But o'er yon slope, a willing band, 

With smiles unfeigned and arms unbound, 
March to the pipe's enchanting sound 
From fierce Oppression's proud command. 


Foes once, by force; now happy friends ! 
Be welcome to the sprightly dance, 
To peace, to liberty, to France, 
Where pride's accursea empire ends.* " 

The second, of which the opening stanzas show the sweet modula- 
tion of genuine verse, paints a Sunday morning in May, 

" 0, peaceful day of pious leisure! 

0, what will mark you as you run! 
Will Melancholy, or win Pleasure, 

Will gloomy clouds, or golden sun? 

" 0, shine serenely^ let me wander 
Along the willow-fringed way, 
Where, lingering in each meander, 
Charmed' Isis wins a short delay." 

The third is an " Ode to General Washington," in which are lines 
that not many boys of nineteen have before or since excelled in 
strength of expression or dignity of sentiment. 



" Exulting on unwearied wings 
Above where incense clouds the court of kings, 

Arise, immortal Muse ! arise ! 
Beyond the confines of the Atlantic waves, 
O'er cities free from, despots, free from slaves, 

Go, seek the tepid calm of purer skies. 

• • • • 

" But, hail thou hero! born to prove 
Thy country's glory and thy country's love, 

To break her regal iron rod: 
Of justice certain, fearless of success, 
Her rights to vindicate, her wrongs redress, 
Her sceptre to transfer from tyrants to her God. 

• • • • • 

" And even thou to Nature's law 
Wilt bend, with reverence and majestic awe, 

As now to thee thy Country bends: 
Yet, O my Washington ! the fatal hour 
Deprives thee only of an active power, 
Nor with thy victories thy triumph ends. 

• . . • 

u The days of playful youth engage • 

The pleasing memory of age : 

Thus, when we fly from toil and pain 

Thither, where the Just remain, 
No clouds that float beneath can screen 

Our former country from our wistful sight! 
Man ! how happy to review the scene 

Thyself hast blest! how godlike a delight! " 

If the rumors that went abroad through Oxford of Landor's fierce 
and uncompromising opinions had rested only on pieces such as 
these, he might fairly have challenged the truth of epithets thrown 
against him by assailants ; but unhappily his tongue was under less 
instinctive control than his pen, and, there being students of his own 
college who held opinions in the other extreme with as little disposi- 
tion to withhold expression of them, the result was not favorable to 
peace in the halls of Trinity. Even among those of Landor's own 
way of thinking in the University, there were many who seem pur- 
posely to have kept aloof from him ; not because he was a Jacobin, 
but because he was a " mad " Jacobin ; though it is not at all clear 
that the epithet might not have been accepted to mean a more sen- 
sible sort of Jacobinism than was popular in the particular quarters 
from which it proceeded. " At Oxford," said Landor, recalling this 
time in his old age, " I was about the first student who wore his hair 
without powder. Take care, said my tutor, they will stone you for 
a republican. The Whigs (not the Wigs) were then unpopular ; but 
I stuck to my plain hair and queue tied with black ribbon." Hardly 
for this eccentricity, however, was the epithet applicable in their 
mouths who applied it His inspiration doubtless had been the 
minister Roland's refusal to go to court in either knee-buckles or 
shoe-buckles ; and, under influence of the same example, a youth six 
months older than Landor was then also waging at Balliol so fierce a 
war against old ceremonies and usage, that he too had resisted every 

£T. I -22.] 




attempt of the college barber to dress or powder him, and had gone 
into hall in flowing locks ; yet the remark upon the madness of Lan- 
dor's Jacobinism was given by this very student of Balliol, a few I 
rears later, as his only reason for not having now sought Landor's » 
acquaintance. Gebir had then appeared and been placed in the first 
rank of English poetry by the same youth, who in the interval had 
himself published Joan of Arc ; when, upon the name of the writer 
of Gebir becoming known to him one day, all the Oxford recollection 
flashed, back upon him. " I now remember," Robert Southey wrote 
to his friend Humphry Davy at Bristol, "who the author of 
the Gebir is. He was a contemporary of mine at Oxford, of Trinity, 
and notorious as a mad Jacobin. His Jacobinism would have made 
me seek his acquaintance, but for his madness. He was obliged to 
leave the University for shooting at one of the Fellows through the 
window. All this I immediately recollected on getting at his name." 
The latter recollection was not quite accurate, but the substance of it 
unfortunately was true ; * and it is now necessary to relate the inci- 
dent which closed Landor's career at Oxford. 

I again avail myself of one of Mr. Robert Landor's letters. " At 
eighteen he entered as a commoner in Trinity College, Oxford, and 
was rusticated after a year's residence. Again, as at Rugby, there 
was no greater offence than might have been overlooked if the gen- 
eral character had been less ungovernable. He had fired his fowling- \ 
piece into the window of some one whom he hated for his Toryism. 
Refusing to make any concession, he was rusticated during one year ; 
bat he was almost requested to return at the year's end, for his 
abilities were justly estimated." These words have full confirmation 
in a more detailed account written a few months later by Landor 
himself to his most intimate friend at the University, which by a 
singular accident has survived until now. But a few prefatory words 
are needed to explain what it will also necessarily communicate of 
Landor's present relations with his father, from which unhappily all 

* The letter of Southey quoted in the text having heen found in 1857 among Sir 
Humphry Davy's letters by his brother, Doctor Davy, the latter sent a copy of it to 
Landor, asking him if it was true (which he could "hardly believe, except under ex- 
traordinary provocation"). Landor replied at once; and tHe reader may be interested 
to see his "brief statement of the occurrence, written after a lapse of more than sixty- 
three years, and to compare it with the detailed account to be shortly given as written 
at the time, the same number of years before. This later description shows no failure 
of memory, and no wish to exaggerate or extenuate. Substantially both are the same. 
- My usual fire of laughter " he writes, " burst forth on reading your letter. The fire 
across the quadrangle was hardly louder or hardly more inoffensive. The fact is this: 
In the morning I had been rabbit-shooting; in the evening I had an after-dinner party. 
M v gun was lying in the bedroom ; one of my guests proposed to fire it at a closed 
winaow-shutter opposite, — the room was a man's with whom I had never had a quar- 
rel or spoken a word. Fleetwood Parkhurst was the only one in my college with whom 
I had any intimacy; the rest of the company was mostly of Christ Church. I should 
not have been rusticated for two terms unless the action had been during prayers. 
Kett who afterwards hanged himself, and thereby proved for the first time his nonesty 
and justice, told the president, Chapman, that he was too lenient. . . . Southey did not 
find me quite so mad as he expected when he visited me at Clifton, the first or 
second year (1 tniuk) of this century." It was four or five years later than that. 




that imbittered the incident arose ; and the reader will understand 
why I make as brief as possible this unavoidable allusion. 

All who knew Doctor Landor adopt the same tone in speaking- of 
him. What is remembered of him by his sons is identical with what 
I have been able to gather from other sources. The slightest symp- 
tom of arrogance or vanity none can recollect in him. He disputed 
no one's pretensions, and was always silent about his own. With 
much more than the average amount of sense and learning common 
to country gentlemen of that time, he made no comparisons, but took 
his place among them unconscious of any difference that might ha\~e 
placed him far above them. Social and hospitable, he never thought 
of rivalry. Landor himself used to say of him, that no other person 
ever equalled the simple pleasantry with which his anecdotes were 
related ; and these had such a charm that his sons were accustomed 
to provoke their repetition by little artifices, though they could anti- 
cipate almost every word. Mentioning this in one of his letters, Mr. 
Robert Landor continues : " As a magistrate he had a large acquaint- 
ance among the senior barristers, and I have often met at his table 
Mr. Romilly (Sir Samuel), with other men of both parties, for he was 
very liberal in opinion. But I do not think that my brother Walter 
was ever present. He hated law and lawyers then almost as much 
as he despised the Church and its ministers at all times ; and the / 
gentlemanly manners by which he was distinguished thirty years / 
later had then no existence." This indicates sufficiently a source of 
disagreement between father and son, in which their only point of 
agreement, an excessive warmth of temper common to both, had fre- 
quent occasion of exercise. With whom the wrong must have lain in 
such quarrels would hardly admit of doubt, even if no memory had 
survived to acquit Doctor Landor, not only of the faintest trace of 
arrogance to his children, but of all contemptuous depreciation of 
other people, and indeed of anything like pride. On this, therefore, 
nothing further will be said beyond such statement as the facts ren- 
der necessary. 

But, delicate as the ground is on which I find myself thus early, it 
would be a wrong to the excellent person from whom I have derived 
so many interesting recollections, not to say at once that if he had 
less frankly complied with my urgent and reiterated request for the 
actual truth of his brother's earlier history, the memoir could not 
have been undertaken at all. My personal knowledge extended only 
to Landor's later life ; and recollections derived exclusively from 
himself I found to be too often incompatible with the statements 
of others to be used with perfect safety. Not that Landor would at 
any time consciously have practised deception. The absence of it in 
his nature in regard to such learning as he possessed, "noticed already 
by his brother, extended to every part of his life. Never was any 
man so little of a hypocrite ; for it was not until he had grossly de- 
ceived himself, that any one was in danger of being deceived by him 


upon any subject whatever. But, with an imagination to the very 
lit incessantly and actively busy, it was not difficult that by him- 
self he should be so misled ; that he should not at all times be able to 
distinguish between the amusement of his fancy and the certainty of 
his recollection ; and that, without charging him with even careless- 
ness as to truth, his facts should occasionally prove to have been 
hardlv less imaginary than his conversations. As to all else, the 
most 'just as well as ultimately the kindest account will be that, 
which, in remembering these things, is careful to keep equally in 
mind his temper and temperament, distinguishing what came by per- 
mission, and what was inherited from nature. Most characters are 
too narrow for much variety ; but in him there was room enough for 
all the changes of feeling, however unlike. My own predominant im- 
pression from our years of intercourse, during all of which he was 
living alone, was that of a man genial, joyous, kind, and of a nature 
large and generous to excess; but of a temper so uncontrollably im- 
petuous, and so prone to act from undisciplined impulse, that 1 have 
been less startled upon a closer knowledge to find it said by others, 
unfaltering both in admiration and tried affection for him, that during 
hardly any part of his life between nine years and almost ninety 
could he live with other people in peace for any length of time ; for I 
that, though always glad, happy, and good-humored for a while, he I 
was apt gradually to become tyrannical where he had power, and re- J 
bellious where he had not ; and 1 here, therefore, candidly state so | 
much, to be always kept steadily in view, that hereafter there may be 
less danger of doing unconsciously some injustice to others in the de- . 
sire to be in all things just to so remarkable a man. 


To the youth who has just left Oxford, and who is still short of 
his twentieth year, the tone just used may seem to be applied prema- 
turely. But already his character is formed ; even as his hand- 
writing, in this letter written seventy years ago, and now lying before 
me, is absolutely identical in form, freedom, and decisiveness of out- 
line with that which he wrote nearly seventy years later. And just 
as in the later time when anything painful had occurred to him, he 
would fling it aside, and forget it in the writing of a dialogue or poem 
of which he would set aside the (imaginary) profits for the benefit of 
somebody or something in distress, he has already, in the interval of  
five months between his rustication and this letter to Walter Birch, 
with the same happy power of forgetting what it was not pleasant to 
remember, gone from his father's house to London, brought out in a 
volume The Poems of Walter Savage Landor* devoting all its profits 
to the benefit of a " distressed clergyman/' and, together with his 

• " Printed for T. Cadell, Jim., and W. Davies (successors to John Cadell). in the 
Strand. 1796/' 




statement to Birch of the circumstances which had driven him. from 
Trinity College, is now sending him this volume of his poems ! 

" Dear Birch," he begins, * " you will be surprised to receive a 
letter from me, but more so to see my verses in their present form. 
I confess the truth to you that the letter does not attend them, 
but they the letter ; for I thought I could not have a better op- 
portunity of addressing myself to you than in their company. ** He 
had ardently desired to explain to his friend the affair which made 
him leave Oxford, for he knew very well that enemies on the one side 
and friends on the other would make the circumstance appear in 
various and deceitful lights. Birch was not to think, however, that 
he was going to apologize for himself ; no such thing. His folly ap- 
peared more hateful to him than it could to any other person, and he 
would show it to his friend undisguised. 

" In the morning I had been a-shooting ; in the evening I invited a party 
to wine. In the room opposite there lived a man t universally laughed at 
and despised ; but I must tell you why he was so, — for we are naturally 
sorry for such people, and are careful not to increase their misfortunes. 
With a figure extremely disgusting, he was more so in his behavior. 
Plenus runs et inficetiarum, he was continually intruding himself where his 
company was not wanted ; and, hearing others talk of hunting and other 
diversions, always joined the conversation, and often mistook a laugh for an 
applause. For the very jokes that were passed on him gratified him highly, 
and puffed him up with an idea of his own consequence. This was the 
aim of the college : laughed at first for his amusement, and afterwards for 
our own. We called him * Duke of Leeds. Well, it unfortunately hap- 
pened that he lived opposite to me, and that he had a party on the same 
day, consisting of servitors and other raffs of every description. The 
weather was warm, and the windows were open ; the consequence was 
that those who were in my room began rowing those in his, who very 
soon retorted. All the time I was only a spectator ; for I should have 
blushed to have had any conversation with them, particularly out of a 
window. But my gun was lying on another table in the room, and I had 
in my back closet some little shot I proposed, as they had closed the 
casements, and as the shutters were on the outside, to fire a volley. It 
was thought a good trick, and accordingly I went into my bedroom and 
fired. Soon the president sent up a servant to inform me that Mr. Leeds 
had complained of a gun being fired from the room in which I entertained 
my company, but he could not tell by whom ; so that he insisted on know- 
ing from me, and making me liable to the punishment." 

And now arises an illustration of character. In the circumstances 
stated there was manifestly no escape with honor except by frank 
confession ; but knowing the consequence that must follow, its pos- 
sible- effect upon his father flashed suddenly on Landor, and, with 
the swift transition to extremes which was a part of his nature, he 
thought it on the instant worth any sacrifice not to imbitter past 

• The letter is dated from 88 Beaumont Street, Portland Place, 12th April, 1795. 
t It will be observed that to Birch he says nothing of the man's Tory opinions, Birch 
himself having a leaning that way. 


hope those borne disagreements of which ordinarily he was careless 
enough. His eager desire of the moment shut out everything but the 
one opportunity of evasion, which he hurriedly seized. He assured 
the president that no gun was fired from the rooms in which 
his company were (he had fired it from the bedroom) ; and as his 
questioner could not identify any person, he did not recognize it as 
his own duty to reply to a vague charge. The president inquired 
whether any person had come up the same stairs 1 Very possibly 
there might, said Landor. Whether he himself possessed a gun? 
lie did. If the president might see it 1 Certainly. Had it not been 
lately fired 1 Yes. The president then immediately sent for the 
men who had been in Lander's room. They, knowing he was not 
likely himself to make any concession, gave discrepant answers ; for 
they were each examined separately and very minutely. Upon this 
Doctor Chapman sent for Landor again ; told him he had received 
such contradictory evidence that he was determined to persevere till 
lie found out the truth ; and suggested that Landor should enable 
him to deal leniently in the case by himself stating frankly what had 
occurred. This was extremely generous, Landor admits, and adds 
that he was foolish in the last degree to refuse it ; but he called to 
mind his own prevarication, and that of his friends, and hastily re- 
solved not to throw any light on the subject* He thought himself 
under no obligation to reply to a charge that could not be proved, 
although it was just ; and he required Doctor Chapman to try him as 
he would a criminal. He reminded him of the privileges of a person 
accused ; and that even if a place were improperly specified in an in- 
dictment, that alone would discharge the prisoner. But the Doctor 
did not comprehend this (a wonder if he had) ; " he chose to ex- 
amine all the grounds ; and if any one of them was sound, it should be 
enough for him." He proceeded, therefore, and, the various contra- 
dictions being compared, the guilt was proved. 
Very characteristically Landor continues : — 

{, I was extremely chagrined. I wrote to the president^ and informed him 
that I only was responsible for the plan I had pursued I even vastly 
Jjagnified my fault, and painted my dissimulation in the most odious colors. 
tor, being what I never was guilty of before, it struck me with the great- 
est horror. You will very likely wonder at the course I' took. But the 
reason why I refused to confess was not on my own account I imagined 
that I should certainly be rusticated at all events for firing off a gun in the 
quadrangle in the time of prayers. I therefore balanced the sorrow I . 
should feel in deceiving the president, with that of irritating a father with [ 
whom I was already on the most indifferent terms. I hardly doubted a f 
foment. For though my father had really shown me as much unkindness 
*s was in his power, I was resolved, if possible, not to give him any further 
cause of complaint I appeal to Heaven for the purity of my motives, and 
tbat they arose not from personal fear. At the same time I confess to you, 
^y dear Birch, that I have committed an action (the prevarication) which 
A never can forgive. The president knew very well the circumstances in 




which I stood ; "fend I really think that he would not have rusticated me, ii 
he had not thought that by going home I should be reconciled the more so or 
to my father. He wrote a letter for this purpose; and expressed lii: 
wishes to me on parting that I should return again to college, and assu.r*?c 
me that the whole affair should be forgotten." 

Such indeed had been the anxiety of this good Doctor Chapman tc 
treat Landor with excess of lenity, that one of the fellows openly ex- 
pressed dissatisfaction. The letter to Birch does not at all exaggerate 
the favorable turn given to the sentence itself, in coupling it, as tlie 
dissentient fellow remarked, with " an unexampled formula." " Mr. 
Landor," said the president, "it is the opinion of the fellows that you 
be rusticated for two terms, at the expiration of which I invite you to re- 
turn." And it was upon Landor's nevertheless earnestly entreating 
that his punishment might be of any other kind, however much 
severer, in order to save pain to his family, not himself, that Doc- 
tor Chapman wrote to his father. But the return home failed to 
bring about the proper understanding; the Birch letter itself too 
abundantly explaining why this could not be expected. The sacrifice 
which the son imagined he had made, was to the father very naturally 
an aggravation of offence ; and it is impossible not to smile at the 
huffed and haughty tone taken up where entire and sorrowful sub- 
mission might have seemed but small atonement. The extraordinary 
ease also with which at last the whole subject is carelessly dismissed 
will not fail to be observed. 

u But my father and I are more different than any other two men. I 

have endeavored to make the greatest sacrifices to his happiness ; but if I 

cannot make him happy, I certainly will not make him miserable. Because 

I sent to Oxford to give up my rooms, he imagined that I had no intention 

, of returning. On this he used the most violent expressions, and the event 

I is that I have left him forever. I have been in London about a quarter of a 

] year, constantly employed in studying French and Italian. The former I 

/ could read before, but not speak. The latter is extremely easy both to 

read and speak, and I understand it as well as French, which I have been 

in the habit of reading four or five years. In about another month I 

think of going into Italy, — but if the French should take me prisoner, I 

will enter their harbors singing ca ira. I have excellent lodgings here, and 

nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see you." 

He was not, however, to sing ca ira as yet, or to embark upon any 
such exciting adventure as he hints at. He remained a few weeks 
longer in London, having nothing afterwards to remember more notice- 
able than an accidental meeting with the son of Egalite' ; * and while 

• Speaking, in a letter to his sister Elizabeth, of the strong party feeling in Florence 

Iter the Three Days' Revolution in France, he describes a dinner at which he had met 

ivnl-Montmorency and Talleyrand's nephew, the Due de Dino, who with 

voided speaking to each other, and adds: " Their new king will, however, 


the Due de Lavnl- 

innnite care nvi 

reconcile all that are worth reconciliation. He is the best, and almost the wisest, man 

in his kingdom. I once saw him in London in the year 1796. He was knocking at a 

door In York Place, where I also had a call to make. He was extremely handsome 

and thin, which he is no longer, and spoke two or three words in English perfect]/ 


kind friends had been doing their best to heal the difference with his 
father, he had himself been chiefly and unconcernedly busy about his 
ruluine of Poems. 


Mr. Robert Landor thus adverts to his brother's first published 
book in one of his letters to me. " The first of Walter's publications 
must have appeared almost seventy years ago. A small volume of 
poems, which were withdrawn or suppressed without any reason as 
1 can remember,* excepting that he hoped to write better soon. There 
was nothing among them, I think, discreditable in any way to a man 
barely twenty years old. But he seems to have wished that they 
should be forgotten, even before the publication of Gebir two or three 
years later." The wish was a natural one, and it will be found very 
shortly that Landor himself gives good reasons for it ; but a book is 
as hard to withdraw as to circulate, and there is no rule so common 
as the rule of contrary in such things. It may be shrewdly suspected 
that the Poems went further than Gebir for the very reason that sug- 
gested the desire to suppress them. A letter is before me written to 
Landor from Oxford early in 1795, by one who was already a fellow 
of his own college of Trinity, in which this remark is made : " For 
myself what can I do? You know nescit vox missa reverti. But 
these little things promote the sale of the copies of your volume in the 
University, so that the booksellers here are at present out of a supply." 

The grave, good-natured writer, older than Landor by many years, 
and to whom a living had just fallen from his college, can thus with- 
out anger refer to some lines addressed to Doctor Warton, containing 
a personal attack on himself which seems to have been altogether 
wilful and unprovoked : — 

u Deign from thy brother's works to cull us 
What bold Lucretius, sharp Catullus, 
Divinely elegant Tibullus, 
And all the grand Aonian quire 
Would envy, or at least admire. 
Then Oxford shall no more regret 
The twofold night Hwixt C and K ." 

—the offence of Clarke and Rett being explained in a note to have 
been, that the last had published Juvenile Poems at the age of forty, 
and the first an (Edipus in prose. " Ouvrez, Messieurs ! c'est mon 

well. I did not know who he was until I entered the house, and then I congratulated 
myself that I had insisted on his entering first, — for I learned that he was so sensible 
and independent a man that he rather gained his bread by teaching French in two or 
three distinguished families than accept the two hundred a year which the king of 
Sardinia offered him. It was a lucky house, — for the Abb6* on whom I called was 
"Bade Bishop of Agen by Bonaparte, though a Christian and a Royalist. I wondered as 
much at this as he once wondered at me for eating a red herring without mustard and 
vinegar, faute de talade." The kind word for Louis Philippe may fairly stand against 
Bnny harsh ones uttered in later years. 
* SeejKitf, p. 8J. 


CEdipe en prose. * The note, however, does not say all. The person 
with whom Clarke is coupled had done worse than publish Juvonilia 
at forty, having in fact been the solitary dissentient among the fellows 
of Trinity from Doctor Chapman's good-humored invitation, that Lan- 
dor should return ; and to the close of Rett's unhappy life Landor 
resented this ill word. On the other hand there was no sufficient 
reason for* putting Clarke into the pillory erected in the volume for 
Kett ; and Landor seems himself to have regretted it, when from the 
letter just quoted he saw how good-naturedly it was taken. 

There is no trace of anger s in Clarke (for the letter is his) ; he 
thinks more of expressing his delight at the poetry and scholarship 
of the book than of taking offence at its personalities ; * and what he 
says of various parts of the volume, and in especial of its fifty pages 
of Poematum Latxnorum Libellus et LcUine scrxbendi Defensio, testifies 
strongly now the impression made then upon the Oxford graduates 
and masters by the powers of this unruly lad of twenty. He thinks 
that G&tullus himself might have been proud of the " Hendecasyl- 
. labi " ;* wishes that courts and courtiers could but be reformed by the 
political pieces J declares that Persius never excelled the ease and 
concinnity of his Invocation ; f says of a couplet for a Quaker's tank- 
ard, — 

" Ye lie, friend Pindar! and friend Thales! 
Nothing so good as water ? Alt is I " 

* M You are somewhat severe," he savs, " on my contemporary and fellow-collegian, 
Mr. Kett, whomyou have also made colllnear with myself, rather to the diversion of all 
our friends." He cannot help tiding an epigram which had just come out as a reply 
to Landor: — 

"K not a poet 1 who dare say so? 

Though not an Ovid, yet a Naso." 

Thia. shows that Kett was not strong in friends, even among men of his own standing. 
He must have had some merit (he was one year chosen Bampton Lecturer), but noth- 
ing he did seems to have been done successfully; and what is said to have induced him 
finally to commit suicide (not bv hanging, as Landor supposed, but drowning) was 
some formal censure passed upon nira in the University. 

t This Invocation is noticeable still for the treasonable bitterness of its last couplet, 
and for its terse summary of the so-called poets whom the general dulness had thrown 
into prominence since the deaths of Goldsmith and Gray. As yet the voice of Cowper 
had but faintly been heard; Burns had still to be naturalized to England; while Words- 
worth, Coleridge, Lamb, and Southey were only trying and sounding their instruments 
in small publications at Bristol. 

44 Though, Helicon! I seldom dream 

Beside thy lovely limpid stream, 

Nor glory that to me belong 

Or elegance, or nerve of song, 

Or Haylev's easy-ambling horse, 

Or Peter "Pindar s comic force, 

Or Mason's fine majestic flow. 

Or aught that pleases one in Crowe: 

Yet thus, a mucy wppHant bard, * 

I court the Muse's kind regard — 

* O whether, Muse! thou please to give 

My humble verses long to live; 

Or tell me the decrees of Fate 
* Have ordered them a shorter date, — 
I I bow. Yet 0, may every word 

Survive, however, George the Third I ' " 


that he had seen one of the dons laughing over it heartily ; and of 
another at the hundred and thirty-third page, on Tucker's treatise 
concerning civil government in opposition to Locke, 

** Thee, meek Episcopy ! shall kings unfrock 
Ere Tucker triumph over sense and Locke ! " 

arers that he "saw Tucker himself overlooking page 133." This 
forgiving fellow of Trinity, in short, has only one regret in connection 
with his assailant, — that he had, owing to some misunderstanding 
al>out the letting of his rooms to him at his first entering the college, 
lost the honor of having Landor for a tenant : " especially as but for 
that you might now have been a resident amongBt us ; and with the 
pipe of antiquity on which you so sweetly play, directed upwards, 
you might have charmed any uncouth inhabitant of your zenith, 
instead of having alarmed the horizon by an instrument placed at 
right angles with your shoulder." 


' At Warwick meanwhile, as I have said, kind friends were inter- 
ceding to clear the horizon from any further ill consequence of the 
alarm to the " uncouth inhabitant " of Trinity ; and now that we are 
all dead, as Sydney Smith says, the name of one of the intercessors 
may be singled out. 

This was Dorothea LytteHon, the chosen and particular friend of 
Landor's eldest sister, Elizabeth ; who lived with her two rich bachelor 
uncles at Studley Castle, fourteen mileS from Warwick and adjoining 
Ipsley Court ; who was known to be not only heiress to both uncles, 
but already to possess in her beauty a more enviable dowry ; whom 
everybody for miles about naturally was in love with ; and who had 
not yet smiled on any of those countless suitors, though youths of all 
but the highest rank were said to be among them. The whole of the 
brothers Landor she of course led captive ; and a tale is told of the 
youngest, that when two or three years hence she had relented and 
was a bride,* and he, a lad of fifteen, had gone into her presence 
bent upon slaying her bridegroom in single combat with spears or 
bows and arrows, she suddenly, to his extreme mortification, displaced 
those desperate thoughts by taking him in her arms and kissing him. 
We may gather at least from the story what the family intimacy with 
Miss Lyttelton was ; and we have proof that an elder brother had 
been more presuming. " I ought to remember well that name, 
and little notes to my sister subscribed D. Lyttelton," wrote Landor 

* Almost as I write these words the papers announce the death of this lady's son. 
"We regret to announce the decease of Sir Francis Goodricke, Bart., at Malrern. 
Born in November, 1797, he was the eldest son of Francis Holyoake, Esq., of Tettenhall 
in Staffordshire, and Studley Castle, Warwickshire, bv Dorothy Elizabeth, niece and 
heiress of Philip Lyttelton, fisq., of Studley Castle, fie was member for Stafford in 
1835; was afterward returned for South Staffordshire; in 1834, filled the office of high* 
•heruTof Warwickshire; and in 1885 was created a baronet." 



to me in his eightieth year, correcting Leigh Hunt's spelling of the 
name in his book about Kensington. " The estate of Studley Castle 
joined Ipsley Court, and there dwelt one whom Lady Hertford, the 
best judge of beauty in the world, called the most lovely and graceful 
creature she had ever known. Every day of the vacations I went 
over there. It soon was Walter and Dorothea ; her uncles, too, called 
me Walter, and liked me heartily ; and if I had then been indepen- 
dent, I should have married this lovely girl." Tales told by hope are 
often too flattering, but we have better means than usual of judging 
whether it was so here. Among his papers I found a packet of her 
letters carefully kept and indorsed by him, addressed to him at his 
London lodgings in Beaumont Street in those early months of' 1 795 ; 
and there will be now no breach of confidence in admitting the reader 
to some glimpses of them. 

The first shows her very anxious about his Bister Elizabeth, with 
whom she has been passing some days, when " she talked of you to 
me, and distresses herself more than you can imagine." He had 
been their constant theme. To talk about him was the only conso- 
lation for his absence, which had diminished the happiness of her 
own visit to Warwick. Never, she prays him, is he to be so cruel to 
her " nice little friend Elizabeth " as not to correspond with her. 
The omission was promptly repaired ; and in her next letter she tells 
him how he had charmed his sister by writing to her, " and me by 
the compliment of attending to my request ! She wrote to me in 
ecstasies. 1 ' 

Then there is a question as to some promise about a bit of ribbon 
he has charged her with having broken ; but she will not regret an 
apparent forgetfulness that has proved his renymbrance of her, and 
gratified her vanity by convincing her that the insignificance of a bit 
of ribbon may derive worth from her presenting it to him. At once, 
upon having his letter, she had sent to her " friend citoyenne John- 
stone, who is now at that metropolis of dissension and aristocracy, ' 
Birmingham," to procure her the colors ; and — would he believe it ! 
— the citoyenne has sent a light blue instead of a dark purple ! But 
really it is the ignorance that has angered her more than the delay ; 
for, " to say the truth, I cannot think you mean in earnest I should pack 
off two or three bits of ribbon those number of miles ! If I am mis- 
taken, it rests with you to rectify it ; and, upon demand, here will be 
the real colors io tie up for your watch-chain." This demand of 
course came, and the bits of ribbon went. 

There is next the arrival of the Poems; which she sits up reading 
till one o'clock in the morning, and then cannot " compose herself to 
sleep " till she has told him what " exquisite delight " they had given 
her ) and not the printed book only, but verses in manuscript ! and 
lines addressed to herself ! How is she to find words to thank him ; 
and ought she indeed to thank him for making her inordinately vain ! 
But what a talent it is ! and, when existing-with a disposition equally 


happy, how great the power it gives its possessor to oblige all whom 
he may honor with the name, of friend ! " These verses, how I could 
talk of them ! What I have, I can repeat as fluently as the author 
himself, and am longing for my memory to be further charged." She 
had only to continue to long until the next post ; which conveyed 
to her the proof of what her following letter expressed in thanking 
him j that her wish was become a command. 

If additional evidence were wanting, however, to show in all that 
has thus been quoted but the friendly familiarity of a good-humored 
girl for the brother of her friend, a year or two younger than herself, 
whose cleverness she admired and whose attentions pleased her, the 
other contents of that last-named letter would supply it. She had 
been told of his intention, already named to Walter Birch, to betake 
himself to Italy ; and not content with a vehement disapproval of 
this plan, she bestirs herself on the instant with much zeal to 'pre- 
vent it. 

She begins by thanking him for having taken so much trouble to 
explain his situation, for to talk of himself is more interesting to her 
than any other subject. They had already heard at Studley of the 
unfortunate misunderstanding between him and his father, and hoped 
it might be reconciled. But now she must tell him that she is in a 
humor to preach a little to him. Is he disposed to profit by a lec- 
ture] He will say she is determined to disapprove of all his 
schemes ; but against this journey to Italy she must loudly exclaim, 
as she would also against any other as distant. There she is decided. 
" I would have people with superior worth and abilities stay and dis- 
tinguish themselves where example, in most wise and good things, is 
so much wanting. I really do not see," she continued, proceeding to 
lay all the blame on - the French Revolution, though as wise and 
gentle a monitor might to the very close of his life have applied the 
words she is using now at its beginning : " I do not see why you j 
should be so disgusted with people in general of your own country, : 
when to my certain knowledge you have more than your share of 
friends. But this vile party political work which now rages through 
the whole world destroys all happiness both domestic and public, — 
and I think we must all soon be of one opinion as to that." 

In any case, however, he must not go to Italy. In a previous let- 
ter she had named her uncles to him as very much on his side, and 
as having desired her to mention them to him as his sincere friends ; 
and now that this project has been told to them, they are quite as 
eager as herself to prevent it. Hence, what she will now propose ; 
and see with what a delighful energy she does it, — being nothing less 
than determined that it shall be I 

" I have a thousand things to say to you from my uncles. They talk of 
yon much, and are ready to be mediators between you and your father. 
Let me then beg of you to consider on what terms and with what induce* 
ments you can be tempted to give up this voyage. Propose them to me, 


and I will commit them to my uncles; one of whom will make such pr< 
posals to your father as coming from themselves. I assure you they ai 
bent upon restoring peace and content to you ; and if they can serve yo 1 . 
do gratify their wish ! Recollect in the course of nine months you will 1j 
of age. You will then have it in your power to increase your income 
you do but approve of those only means to do it Till then, suppose nr 
uncle was to propose your going to Cambridge? And would you agr< 
to giving a security to make amends to the younger part of the family 
your father would allow you enough to support you in studying the law at 
the Temple? or living independent anywhere else in England? For I find) 
the truth is, he cannot allow you sufficient to study the law without in- 
juring his younger children. Three hundred a year my uncles talk oC ' 
Now this is really coming to the point. Not merely saying don't go, but 
thinking of what you are to do if you stay. Let me entreat you, then, to 
tell me the terms on which you will give up this melancholy scheme. 
Do lay them down to me, and I will acquaint my uncles of them. Nay, 
write to one of them yourself I Or, will you come down and stay a little 
while with them, and talk over schemes and projects to restore your 
happiness in England ? I do hope sincerely you will take time to try if 
you do not find it sufferable to stay. Give it up till you are of age merely, 
and then determine I What can you do in Italy ? i* quite depend upon 
your making me your confidante, and that I shall hear from you imme- 
diately. I will attend at all times to anything that will serve you." 

I There is something extremely touching in all this pretty, persistent, 

' feminine earnestness for the youth so wayward and self-willed, who 

had yet the qualities to inspire such sisterly attachment and interest 

; as are manifest in every line she writes. Nothing more of the cor- 

I respondence is preserved ; but immediately after the last letter 

i "reached Landor, he quitted London for Tenby in South Wales, and 

I his having accepted the proposed mediation is to be inferred from 

the fact that it shortly afterwards took place, and the arrangement 

ultimately made for his living away from Warwick was founded 

upon it 

The notion as to Cambridge, and the plan for reading law at the 
Temple, were rejected ; but a fixed yearly sum, about half of what 
his eager advocate suggested, was set apart for his use, with the 
understanding that his father's house was at all times open to him in 
aid of this allowance, for as much of the year as he chose to live in 
| it. And so for that time there was a surrender of the flight to Italy, 
which had carried dismay to at least another female heart, humbler 
though perhaps not less true than Dorothea Lyttelton's. "Hon™* 1 
Sir," wrote the servant who had nursed him in his infancy, " May 
Health and Happiness attend you, and may I Live to see you at the 
Head of that Family who, next to a Husband, as my Best Affections. 
I hope the providence of God will direct you in Every thing, but. 
. Sir, I hope you will Never go a Broad. My hart shuders at the thout 
of your Leaving England Least I shud see you no more." The letter, 
addressed to him at Tenby in the August of 1795, I found among 
Lander's papers at his death with his indorsement, "Mary Bird — 

£Tm i_22.] A MORAL EPISTLE. 41 

my uwtrse." She had married shortly before,* a present he then sent her 
now forming her apology for writing to him ; and this small niche in 
his story may be fairly given to so old a friend of his family, whose 
return of the affection she bore them has record in a tablet placed to 
her memory in Warwick Church by Henry Landor. 


While he had thus been waiting to decide upon his future career, 
however, his letters to his interesting correspondent had not filled up 
all his time. Some weeks before he quitted London there came forth 
from the printing-press of Messrs. Cadell and Davies, with no other 
name on the title-page, a tract of twenty pages in verse, A Moral 
EpistU to Earl Stanhope, of which, from letters addressed to him at 
Tenby, I lately discovered him to have been the writer. One of its 
lines indeed avows the authorship. I may not long detain the reader 
with it ; but one or two characteristic points should not be omitted. 

The satire, as its title implies^ is in the manner of Pope, whose 
workmanship in some respects it cleverly reproduces. It is an attack 
upon Pitt ; the republican earl being put in contrast with the Tory \ 
minister ; and its lines best worth recalling are those that denounce 
the shabby public vices encouraged by Chatham's son, as in him co- 
existing with private weaknesses, that, for such association in the 
elder time, nay, even in his father's time, would have been too gen- 

u Ah, Bacchus, Bacchus I round whose thyrsus twined 

Tendrils and ivy playing unconfined, • 

How art thou altered 1 " 

Not the less now, for the bottle in each hand, did avarice and disin- 
genuouaness flourish ; not the less did spies abound ; and not safer 
was the confidence because given at the festive hour. One can hardly 
imagine the lines that follow written by a lad of twenty. 

•* Yet the pleasures! when 'mid none but friends 
The trusty secret where it rises ends : 
At which no hireling politician storms, 
No snoring rector catches, and informs ' 
Now, even Friendship bursts her golden band, 
Kens one with caution ere she shakes one's hand* 
No longer gives she that accustomed zest 
Which made luxurious e'en the frugal feast; 
Nor hold we converse, in these fearfnl days, 
More than the horses in your lordship's chaise. 
Yet Wine was once almighty ! silent Care 
Filled high the bowl, and laughed at poor Despair; 

• "Molly Perry" wag the maiden name of this old family servant; and was the 
name by which very recently^ in the crisis of a dangerous 'illness, Mr. Robert Lan- 
dor, unconscious for the moment of more than eighty intervening years, called to her, 
supposing her still to be watching at his bed as in his infancy. Occasionally, also, in 
letters between him and Walter, the mention of her occurs; and in some amusing com- 
ments on the disagreeableness of English hexameters, Robert makes exception for 
u Sternhold's 104th Psalm as recited by Molly Bird." (August, 186*.) 




* Wine threw the guinea from the miser's hand, 
Wine bade his wond'ring heart with alien warmth expand. 
But — honest minister or sound divine — 
He lies who tells us now there's truth in wine. 
For George's premier, never known to reel. 
Drinks his two bottles, Bacchus ! at a meaL" 

There is another passage, in which the shoulder of mutton of honest 
Marvell is hashed once more for downright Shippen, whom Walpole 
has visited in the hope of corrupting : — 

" * Boy,' quoth Shippen, * pray 
What will thy master dine upon to-day? * 
1 Sir? Mutton, sir! ' * Speak boldly; why abasht? 
Drest in what manner ? ' ' Please your honor, hasht* " 

— all of which is excellent, though only these lines may be given. 
But an extract from a note to them is also worth giving, to show the 
readiness with which he used his learning ; how intimately it was a 
part of himself even at this boyish time ; and how early had begun 
those applications of it which habit, making more and more easy to 
him, made finally a second nature. The note tells us something, too, 
of his opinions of the people's representatives in those days, and as 
to the need that existed for reform. 

Remarking that Walpole's court was infamous to a proverb, he says 
that though comparisons would be odious, a time had very certainly 
at last arrived among themselves when nearly the whole of their 
worthy representatives might join the chorus in Sophocles : — 

6tf €<tt\v fjfi&v vavKparoip 6 nais • oV' hf 
ovtos X£y# (rotj ravrd troi XVH*^ S <£a/*«v. 

They might sing, in* other words, " This youth here is our pilot, and 
whatever he tells you we also say " : a song unlike that later one in 
which "the pilot " Pitt appeared, but in an odd kind of way, of which 
Landor is wholly unconscious, seeming to prefigure it. He goes on 
to say that Sophocles often is a satirist ; that if he had lived in Eng- 
land he would most surely have had his windows broken for freedom 
of speech ; and that it is a great pity, in so immense a web of scholia 
as that which is entangled round him, not to be able to distinguish 
the characters he seems to have attacked. 

" The critics never observed that Sophocles joined politics to poetry ; 
otherwise they certainly would have taken the pains to illustrate, as they 
went, the most striking characters of a most eventful age. This reflection 
led me to another, — which is, that nothing would be more proper than 
that to every town which had representatives there should every month 
be sent an account how they act. This account should be reposited in 
some place of safety, where the constituents might refer to it whenever 
they please. They could then be no longer deceived ; and if there existed 
any undue influence, it would be their own fruit. Even this, however, 
would be nugatory, unless the bill passes for a more general reform." 

So sweeping a reformer indeed was the ardent young poet, that, 
not content with addressing his Epistle to Lord Stanhope, and with 



XT. 1-22.] RETREAT TO WALES. 43 

declaring repeatedly that he despises the title as much as he admires J 
the virtue of so distinguished a patriot, he thinks it necessary also to f 
prefix a prose dedication in which he is " bold enough to assert " that \ 
when Fortune placed on the brow of Lord Stanhope the tinsel coronet 
for the civic wreath, she must have been either more blind or more 
insulting than usual. For himself, she had nothing to give, because 
there was nothing he would ask. He would rather have an execu- I 
tioner than a patron. ) 

The remark no doubt expresses very exactly the feeling with which 
Landor awaited at Tenby the result of the intercession with his 


In the later memory of Landor the various matters consequent on 
his departure from Oxford continued to live only confusedly ; and at 
the time of his letter to me in 1855 he had the belief that Dorothea 
Lyttelton's intercession had obtained for him a separate allowance of 
four hundred a year, though his own non-compliance with certain 
conditions compelled him to surrender it. Her letters will not only 
have shown how such errors may have found place in his mind, but 
will account for sundry statements naturally repeated since his death 
because put forth with his authority while he lived ; and in order to 
explain the interesting comment which these have received from Mr. 
Robert Landor, of whom I had inquired respecting them before Miss 
Lyttelton's letters were found, their substance shall here be briefly 

They are to this effect : That Landor, after he left Oxford, was 
looking out for a profession. That his godfather, General Powell, 
with whom upon leaving Oxford he lived in London, promised that 
he would obtain for his godson a commission in the army if the young 
republican would keep his opinions to himself. That Landor replied 
he would suppress his opinions for no man, and declined the offer. 
That his father then promised him four hundred a year if he would 
study for the law, and only a hundred and fifty a year if he would 
not. But that, the law being less to Landor' 8 taste than the army, 
after a brief residence in London he put the Severn Sea between him 
and his friends, and retired into Wales. 

As for Landor looking out for a profession, this was certainly never 
at any time the case. The earlier home disagreements and objections 
turned chiefly upon this, that he as decidedly refused as his father 
eagerly desired to give such a direction to his studies as might also 
give purpose to his life and steadiness to his habits, — " settle him 
i down to something," as the saying is. But, even by the time of the 
Oxford rustication, Doctor Landor had come to see pretty clearly that 
his eldest son was just as likely to qualify himself for a curacy or rec- 
tory as for a lawyer's wig, for a bishop as for a judge, or for a Quaker 
as for either. " General Powell," Mr. Robert Landor tells me, " my 




brother's godfather, never did live in London, nor did my brotHeri 
ever live with him anywhere else. The general's house and constant 
residence was at Warwick, till, a great many years later, he became 
Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar. There were five or six old officers 
at that time resident in Warwick, but none so familiar with my 
father as General Powell. He had served in Canada during the 
American War ; and, enjoying an ample fortune, at the. peace re- 
turned to Warwick, his native town, as an unmarried sportsman. 
When not otherwise engaged, he spent his evenings with us ; a cheer- 
ful, good-humored old soldier, with very gentlemanly manners which 

never changed While Walter was a boy, the old general 

laughed at such extravagance as his wish that the French would in- 
vade England and assist us in hanging George the Third between 
two such thieves as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.* But 
at a later age military men could not be so tolerant ; and, therefore, 
rather than quarrel, the general hardly ever spent his evenings in my 
father's house when Walter was there. According to the accounts 
you send me, General Powell had offered a commission in his regi- 
ment to Walter, which was declined. The general would have 
thought him as well qualified for the chaplaincy. Such an offer wcut 
made to my brother Charles ; but at that time Walter never entered 
the general's house, though so near, and the general very seldom en- 
tered our father's. More than twenty years later I prevailed on 
Walter to call on General Powell, then very old and almost dying, at 
Clifton. Every trace of ill-feeling was forgotten on both sides ; but I 
doubt whether, during those twenty years, they had seen each other. 
There was, however, another military proposal of which my brother 
never heard one word. The Warwickshire Militia, assembled at War- 
wick, had for its colonel the Marquis of Hertford, and for its lieu- 
tenant-colonel a Colonel Packwood, also one of my father's friends. 
On one occasion, when I think that I was present, Colonel Packwood 
related to my father the resignation of some young officer through 
ill-health. My father may have hoped that the unsettled and restless 
habits of his son would perhaps be corrected, if employment could be 
found for him among many older persons from the best county fami- 
lies. He asked Colonel Packwood whether he thought that Lord 
Hertford would give Walter the vacant appointment 1 Colonel Pock- 
wood promised to report my father's wishes to the marquis. A few 
days after, when they met again, my father asked whether the appli- 
cation had been made ; to which the colonel said that it had not 
been made by him ; for that at the mess after dinner, when talking 
about the vacancy, he had mentioned my father's wish and his own 

• The 
when he 

memory of my correspondent goes so far back as even to recall the occasion 
and his" brothers and Bisters, sitting in their mother's room, not only beard this 

they heard their mother's high-heeled shoes clattering quickly over the margin 
uncarpeted oak near the door, and saw her neat little figure suddenly disappear. " I 'd 
advise you, mother," shouted Walter after her, " not to try that sort of thing again I " 


belief that the marquis would readily comply with it ; whereupon 
one of the officers present immediately objected to my brother's vio- 
lent and extreme opinions, exclaiming, ' If young Walter Landor gets 
a commission, I will resign mine ' ; and this resolution being con- 
finned for similar reasons by every one present, nothing more could 
l*e done. I do not believe that Walter ever heard of it, or the con- 
tempt which he always so loudly expressed for the Warwickshire gen- 
try might be accounted for." 

This last anecdote dates, of course, a little later than the time now 
engaging us ; and is inserted, as it was written, to illustrate those 
exaggerated peculiarities of temperament which unexplained would 
make inexplicable Landor's whole career ; which gave his opinions a 
tone of offence that not all the eloquent ability he maintained them 
with could allay ; which put him in the wrong when the right was 
most upon his side ; and, involving him in unmeaning quarrels, left 
him both in youth and age to the loneliness and isolation of which he 
at once boasted and complained. A lively lady who both liked and 
admired him said to me in his later life that the great enjoyment of 
walking out with him had only one drawback, that he was always 
knocking somebody dawn. She meant this mostly by way of meta- 
phor ; but her objection was the same as that of his soldier-contempo- 
raries, except that there was less of the metaphor in it then. The 
young officers of the Warwickshire Militia were infinitely his inferiors 
doubtless, and In everything might have learned from him, as they 
would also gladly have been taught, with a little help from better 
manners. How often has the truth to be repeated which Burke 
urged on Barry, that it is the interest of all of us to be at peace with 
our fellow-creatures far less for their sakes than for our own, and that 
the only qualities to carry us safely through life are moderation and 
gentleness, not a little indulgence to others, and a great deal of dis- 
trust of ourselves. 

As to the allowance finally agreed to be given until the family 
estates should descend to him, Mr. Robert Landor remarks that, 
besides the kind welcome at his father's house when the moderate 
income was expended, the £150 finally agreed to " had many small 
additions as our mother could spare them through her own self-denial 
in all ways. The three younger sons were maintained on three hun- 
dred a year, as they could live also, as Walter did, with their father 
*hen their money was spent, in other words for about half the year ; 
and our father had three daughters at that time utterly dependent on 
an entailed income really, though not nominally, less than £1,800 a 
year." Nor can I consent to withhold any part of what is said on 
thU subject by Mr. Landor in another letter. " With six younger 
children^ for four of whom there was no provision n (Charles being 
promised the rectory of Colton of which the patronage belonged to 
nia father, and Henry having the bequest of a small estate at Whit- 
Da8D )» " our mother's cares were confined to her family during many 




years. And when she afterwards had less need of economy, the same 
early prudence was become habitual, and there was the appearance 
of too much parsimony. But it was never for herself. Under the 
guidance of my brother Henry, who managed her affairs, she would 
give as much to any of her children as was consistent with justice to 
the rest. Parting all she had among them, it was sometimes easier 
to get from her a hundred pounds than ten shillings. An anxious 
rather than a fond parent, she was scrupulously just. Though, 
secretly pleased by any commendations bestowed upon her eldest 
son, she cared less about his literary reputation than about the holes 
in his shoes and stockings, — a very constant grievance for which she 
thought herself in some degree responsible. If you feel tired of such 
silly trash, remember that it is intended by me to mark the distinc- 
tion between two characters so nearly related and yet so extremely 
unlike. This brother Henry, who was the family adviser and man- 
ager, would never accept any share in the common property, or any 
bequest from his mother or sisters, but always transferred his rights 
to nephews and nieces. Here is another contrast of which I will say 
no more." 

When absent from Warwick during the next three years, Landor 
seems to have been almost wholly at Tenby or Swansea. That this 
interval could not in any prudent or worldly sense have been very 
profitable to him, what has been said will sufficiently have shown ; 
and a part of it, including a love adventure that began at the former 
place, was probably also painful. It is not necessary, however, that 
this should be dwelt upon ; and Landor himself, with the same reso- 
lute will that could turn aside from pain as well as pleasure where 
either might have overwhelmed another man, was able very speedily 
to forget it. One thing nevertheless is to be said of these three 
years, that in the course of them his mind had passed through a dis- 
cipline which from its previous studies or emotions it had failed to 
acquire; that during them he appears to have read more steadily 
and persistently than at any former time ; and that he printed at the 
close of them, when he had scarcely passed his twenty-second year, a 
poem which has only hitherto wonderfully attracted the few as it has 
decisively repelled the many, but which in*my judgment is yet sure 
of taking admitted rank, if not in this in some other generation, with 
those few productions of tjie highest class, which, however wanting in 
completeness of structure or finish in all their parts, contain writing 
that will perish only with the language. 

" When I began to write Gebir" he wrote to me in 1850, " I had 
\ just read Pindar a second time and understood him. What I ad- 
'• mired was what nobody else had ever noticed, — his proud compla- 
cency and scornful strength. If I could resemble him in nothing 
else, I was resolved to be as compendious 'and exclusive. w But 
besides Pindar he read again in these years Homer and the Trage- 
dians ; and what for the purpose in hand was far more important, he 

£1. 1-22.] RETREAT TO WALES. 47 

\ bad finally laid Pope aside and betaken himself to Milton. He has 
I described the time in one of his Conversations. " My prejudices in 
hxor of ancient literature began to wear away on Paradise Lost, and 
even the great hexameter sounded to me tinkling when I had recited 
aloud, in my solitary walks on the sea-shore, the haughty appeal of 
Satan and the repentance of Eve." * In such walks for the most 
part, and under such influences, Gebir was composed ; and it was 
probably no mere illusion of his fancy which led him to say repeatedly 
in after life that he was never happier than when thus writing it, and 
not exchanging twelve sentences with men. Copper-works had not, 
as yet, quite filled the woods around Swansea among which he lived ; 
and he might take his daily walks, as he has himself described them, 
oxer Bandy sea-coast deserts covered with low roses only and thou- 
sands of nameless flowers and plants, and with nothing save occa- 
sional prints of the naked feet of the Welsh peasantry to give token 
(of the neighborhood of any human creatures. Hardly human indeed, 
in their savagery in those days, were the lower orders of the Welsh. 
The English visitor might have some excuse for regarding them as 
only something a very little higher than the animals. They were as 
much mere adjuncts to his landscape as its stranded boats or masses 
of weed. 

This then will be the time, without stopping to speak of the visits 
Landor meanwhile made to his father's house at Warwick, to offer 
such detailed account of what he thus achieved as may be necessary 
to explain the language applied to it ; and justify an appeal to read- 
ers, who have probably never heard its name, to redress at last the 
I indifference of more than seventy years, and place Gebir in the rank 
I of English poetry to which of right it belongs. 

The accident which led him to the subject selected I have often 
heard him relate. He was on friendly terms with some of the family 
of Lord Aylmer, who were staying in his neighborhood, and one of 
the young ladies lent him a book, by a now forgotten writer of ro- 
mances, from the Swansea circulating library. Clara Reeve was the 
1 & uthor ; but Landor, confusing in his recollection a bad romance 
Jpter with a worse of the same sex, thought it was that sister of 
Mrs. Siddons and John Kemble who lived in the small Welsh town, 
and wrote under the name of Anne of Swansea. Few of my readers 
J*jU have heard her name, and I may warn them all against her 
tooks, which are mere nonsensical imitations of Mrs. Radcliffe ; but 
kl«a Reeve had really some merit, though not discoverable in the 
particular book lent to Landor. He found it to be a history of ro- 
jaance, having no kind of interest for him until he came at its close 
to the description of an Arabian tale. This arrested his fancy, and 
\ yowled him the germ of Gebir. More than sixty years later he wrote 
• * m e from Bath (30th November, 1857) that he had just discovered 
™ sent to a lady living near him, also of that Aylmer family, a little 

* Imag. Oonv. Landor and the Abbe" De Lille. 


poem called St. Clair, written all those years ago for her who thus leni 
him the book. 

One of his critics afterwards charged him with having stolen his 
story, and merely imitated Milton in telling it On both points ligrlit 
will be thrown by what I am about to say. He was now to quit ttic 
levels, and rise to the heights, of English verse ; and to this extent 
he had profited by his recent study of Milton. But that was the 
whole' of his present debt to the incomparable master ; and whether 
to anybody his Muse owed anything whatever for the story in which 
she was to find herself involved, the reader very shortly will be able 
to determine. 


1797-1805. JET. 22-30. 


L Gebir. — II. Some Opinions of Gebir. — III. Doctor Parr. — IV. Attack of 
the Monthly Review. — V. Sergeant Rough. — VI. Corresponding with Parr 
and Adair. — VII. At Paris in 1802. — VII I. Poetry by the Author of Gebir. 
—IX. Walter Birch ; and Succession to Family Estates. 


It is easier to laugh at a thing than to take the trouble to com- 
prehend it ; and when the Quarterly Review said, a good many years 
ago, that Gebir was a poem it did any man credit to have understood, 
there was more in the saying than its author meant. He was not 
himself entitled to the credit, though he might have won it with a 
little pains. 

The intention of the poem is, by means of the story of Gebir and 

.» his brother Tamar, to rebuke the ambition of conquest, however ex- 

' cusable its origin, and to reward the contests of peace, however at \ 

" first unsuccessful. Gebir is an Iberian prince, •sovereign of Beeiic 

Spain,* whose conquest of Egypt, undertaken to avenge the wrongs 

and assert the claims of his ancestors, is suspended through his love 

for its young Queen Charoba, by the treachery of whose nurse he is 

nevertheless slain amid the rejoicings of his marriage feast. Tamar 

« a shepherd youth, the keeper of his brother's herds and flocks, by 

*hom nothing is so eagerly desired as to conquer to his love one of 

the sea-nymphs whom at first he vainly contends with, but who, made 

subject to mortal control by the superior power of his brother, yields 

to the passion already inspired in her, and carries Tamar to dwell 

*ith her forever beyond the reach of human ambitions. 

Fanciful and wild in its progress as the Arabian tale that suggested 
rt, there is yet thus much purpose in the outline of Gebir ; but its 
toent lies apart from intention or construction, and will be found in 
. *" e passion and intellect pervading it everywhere, in its richness of 
detail and descriptive power. Style and treatment constitute the 
charm of it The vividness with which everything in it is presented 
to sight as well as thought, the wealth of its imagery, its marvels 
°f language, — these are characteristics pre-eminent in Gebir. In 

t*- ^ ro ? a G* ** to are to suppose Gibraltar to be derived, after the fashion of the 
l*icro.Latin names in Virgil. 




50 gebir; and earliest friendships. Sw^sSI 

the treatment, never abruptly contrasted, natural and supernatural 
agencies are employed with excellent art ; and everywhere as real to 
the eye as to the mind are its painted pictures, its sculptured forms, 
and the profusion of its varied but always thoughtful emotion. 

These qualities I shall exhibit in describing the seven books, con- 
taining nearly two thousand lines, that tell the story ; and my extracts 
will also show the sweetness of the verse, which, though with occa- 
sional want of variety in modulation, is to a remarkable degree both. 
energetic and harmonious. I shall quote from it at unusual length. ; 
not only because it is unknown to the present reading generation, but 
because no description without such assistance could account for the 
effect produced by it upon a few extraordinary men. The mark it 
made in Landor's life will constantly recur ; and of the manner in 
which his genius affected his contemporaries, not by influencing the 
many, but by exercising mastery over the few who ultimately rule 
the many, no completer illustration could be given. 

The love inspired in the brothers respectively finds expression in the 
First Book, which opens with the invasion of Egypt by Gebir in re- 
demption of an oath sworn to his father, to satisfy his dead ancestors 
and revenge primeval wrongs. ^In the fourth fine is one of those 
touches which are frequent in the poem, and proof of high imagina- 
tion ; where a single epithet conveys to the mind the full impression 
which the sense would receive from detailed presentment of the ob- 
jects sought to be depicted. The " dark helm " covers the crowd of 
invading warriors. 

" He blew his battle horn, at which uprose 
Whole nations ; here, ten thousand of most might 
He called ajoud; and soon Charoba saw 
His dark helm hover o'er the land of Nile." 

The young queen in her terror seeks Dalica her nurse, who reassures 
her, tells her the invader shall be destroyed, and instructs her, in- 
stead of flying from him, to go to his tents and use persuasion to 
induce him, in honor of his ancestors, to rebuild the city which had 
once been theirs. 

" But Gebir ? when he heard of her approach, 
Laid by his orbed shield ; his vizor-helm, 
His buckler, and his corslet he laid by, 
And bade that none attend him; at his side 
Two faithful dogs that urge the Bilent course, 
Shaggy, deep-chested, croucht; the crocodile, 
Crying, oft made them raise their flaccid ears 
And push their heads within their master's hand.* 
There was a brightening paleness in his face, 
Such as Diana rising o'er the rocks 
Showered on the lonely Latmian; on his brow 
Sorrow there was. vetnaught was there severe. 
But when the royal damsel first he saw, 

* Among Landor's papers I found a list, prepared by himself, of resemblances to* 
passages of his own writing to be found in Scott's Tales of the Crusader*. There were 
several from Gebir, and among them that of Coeur de Lion's hound " thrusting his long 
rough countenance into the hand of his master." The poem had made a gnat im- 
pression on Scott, who read it at Soqthey's suggestion. 

£T. 22—30.] GEBIB, 51 

Faint, hanging on her handmaid, and her knee* 
Tottering, as from the motion of the car, 
His eyes lookt earnest on her, and those eyes 

Showed if they had not that they might have loved, 
For there was pity in them at that hour." 

After the interview the prince Beeks Tamar, intending to speak of 
the passion that has taken possession of him, when he is surprised 
by a confidence which anticipates his own, and has to listen first to 
famar's confession. The shepherd youth's description of the sea- 
nymph — a powerful, impulsive, yet submissive creature of the ele- 
ments, with large supernatural strength taming itself to little natural 
human ways — is perfect in every detail to the old Greek fancy. 
In the picture of her dress are two lines, 

•* Her mantle showed the yellow samphire-pod, 
Her girdle the dove-colored wave serene,'' 

which I quote that I may connect with them a characteristic trait of 
the writer, who told me once that he had never hesitated more about 1 
a verse than in determining whether the mantle or the girdle was to | 
be dove-colored ; his doubts having arisen, after he had written the 
lines, on recollecting from the great Lucretius that the Roman ladies 
wore a vest of the same description, — teriturque thalassina vestis 
Assidue, <fcc 

A prize to be contended for had been proposed between Tamar and 
the nymph. She has nothing of equal worth to one of his sheep to 
offer ; but — she tells him, in a passage which has become one of the 
glories of our language,* and which it is impossible even to transcribe 

* I quote from one of Landor's letters to me. " It was my practice, as yon know 
from Gtbir, to try my hand at both Latin and English where I had been contented with 
any passage in one. In Gebir there are a few which were written first in Latin. The 
Shelf was one of these. Poor Shell] that Wordsworth so pounded and flattened in his I 
marsh it no longer had the hoarseness of a sea, but of a hospital." Not without reason 1 
he had been irritated by a critic who rebuked Lord Byron for naming Gebir as the 1 
source from which he had drawn a passage in his Island; this unlucky critic, after in- 
forming the noble poet that his original was not in Landor, but in an" " exquisite pas- 
sage " dv Mr. Wordsworth, having proceeded to quote the lines from the Excursion in 
which, like Byron, Wordsworth had copied Lanaor, but, unlike Byron, without con- 
fessing it. 

" I have seen 

A cm'ous child, who dwelt upon a tract 

Of inland ground, applying to his ear . 

The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell 

To which, in silence hushed, his very soul 

Listened intensely, and his countenance soon 

Brightened with joy; for murmuring from within 

Were heard sonorous cadences ! whereby, 

To his belief, the monitor expressed 

Mysterious union with its native sea." 

I will add the passage of the nobler original as it appears in the Latin Gebirus. It may, 
indeed, be doubted whether the English or the Latin is most perfect. 

" Atmihi csernlesB sinuosa foramina concha) 
Obvolvunt, lucemque intus de sole biberunt, 
Nam crevgre locis ubi porticus ipsa palatt 
Et qua purpurea medius stat currus in undtL 
Tu auate, somnus abit: tu laevia tange labella 
Aunbus attentis, veteres reminiscitur sedeSj 
Oceanusque suus quo murmure murmurat ilia." 

.52 gebir; and earliest friendships. Sw^sS 

without something of the pleasure that must have attended its con- 
ception : — 

" Bat I have sinuous shells of pearly hue 
Within, and they that lustre nave Imbibed 
In the sun's palace-porch, where when unyoked 
His chariot-wheel stands midway in the wave: 
Shake one, and it awakens ; ihen apply 
Its polisht lips to your attentive ear, 
Ana it remembers its august abodes, 
And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there." 

The conflict or wrestling-match that follows is intensely Greek in the 
manner of the narration, and simple even to rudeness ; hut they who 
would turn it into ridicule will find more abounding opportunity for 
the same kind of mirth in the idyls of Theocritus and the descrip- 
tions of the Odyssey. In the contest the nymph is victor, and leaves 
Tamar; hut 

" More of pleasure than disdain 
Was in her dimpled chin and liberal lip, 
And eyes that languisht, lengthening, just like love. . . . 
Restless then ran I to the highest ground 
To watch her; she was gone; gone down the tide; 
And the long moonbeam on the hard wet sand 
Lay like a jasper column half upreared." 

As the brothers take their way to the camp, Gebir confesses in 
turn his love for Charoba, and his resolve for her to forego his native 
country and resuscitate in Egypt, the city of his ancestors. The 
Second Book shows this labor in progress. 

41 The Gadite men the royal charge obey. 
Now fragments weighed up from the uneven streets 
Leave the ground black beneath; again the sun 
Shines into what were porches, and on steps 
Once warm with freemen tat ion ; clients, friends, 
All morning; satchelled idlers all midday; 
Lying half up and languid though at games." 

Slowly the buried city emerges ; its masses of stone and marble 
green with the growth of centuries ; and its pavements painted with 
flowers and figures, which, as water is flung on them, start fresh to 

" Here arches are discovered; there huge beams 
Kesist the hatchet, but in fresher air 
Soon drop away : there spreads a marble squared 
And smoothened ; some high pillar for its base 
Chose it, which now lies ruined in the dust. 
Clearing the soil at bottom, they espy 
A crevice; and, intent on treasure, strive 
Strenuous, and groan, to move it: one exclaims: 
* I hear the rusty metal grate ; it moves ! * 
Now, overturning it, backward they start, 
And stop again, and see a serpent pant, 
See his throat thicken, and the crisped scales 
Rise ruffled, while upon the middle fold 
He keeps his wary head and blinking eye, 
Curling more close and crouching ere he strike. 
Go, mighty men, invade far cities, go, 
And be such treasure portions to your heirs." 

ST. 22-30.] GKBTR, 53 

Portents of a more terrible kind succeed. Six days' labor had 
seemed to bring the end within reach, when, on the seventh day, 
what was done is found undone, and everything restored to what it 
bad been. Gebir is pierced with sorrow, for he sees that other than 
mortal hands are raised against him ; and, calling together his follow- 
ers, he bids them supplicate the Gods. Southey thought no English 
poetry presented anything so Homeric as the passage that succeeds. 
It would be difficult certainly to imagine a finer image than its clos- 
ing personification of prayers : — 

M Swifter than light are they, and every face, 
Though different, glows with beauty ; at the throne 
Of Mercy, when cloud* shut it from mankind, 
They fall bare-bosomed, and indignant Jove i 

Drops at the soothing sweetness of their voice 
The thunder from his hand." 

But here prayers are vain ; and Gebir, believing it now to be some 
secret power that opposes him other than that of the Gods, hopes 
that, by subduing to his will the sea-nymph beloved by Tamar, he 
may obtain the secret from her. He seeks her, dressed as his 
brother, passing through the woodland to the sea : — 

"And as he passes on, the little hinds 
That shake for bristly herds the foodful bough, 
Wonder, stand still, gaze, and trip satisfied : 
Pleased more if chestnut, out of prickly husk 
Shot from the sandal, roll along the glade." 

Upon the sea-nymph, meanwhile, waiting for Tamar, desire has 
come ; and the wings of love, which she held at her will in the for- 
mer conflict, she has languidly let loose : the prince is victor ; and 
as, after discovery that Gebir has been her antagonist, she cries for 
Tamar, now eager to declare and enjoy her passion as a human nymph 
would be timidly to conceal it, he promises again and again, to restore 
to her his brother, if she will but say whose work the ruin is that 
comes each night upon the city, and from whence are the horrid 
yells of rapture heard amid its falling walla Then she : — 

" Neither the Gods afflict you, nor the Nymphs. 
Return me him who won my heart, return 
Him whom my bosom pants for, as the steeds 
In the sun's chariot for the western wave. . . . 
Promise me this: indeed I think thou hast, 
But 't is so pleasing, promise it once more." 

He complies ; and she tells him then of the demons and incanta- 
tions that prevail in Egypt, and by what sacrifices he is to appease 
them. The lines descriptive of the latter have a weird and startling 
picturesqueness. Upon the site of the ancient city he performs all 
that is required ; and as her last bidding is done, the earth gapes 
before him, he descends, passes through the darkness, and sees 
around him the souls of those among his ancestors who had rejoiced 
in war and conquest, expiating by pains of more or less intensity 

54 oebir: and earliest friendships. {££?**£ 


their varying lusts of power. This purgatory of conquerors occtx 
pies the Third Book, which Landor opens with an aspiration of horn 
age to the greatest of all poets, who like himself had been br^ J ii 
the country of the Avon : — 

" for the spirit of that matchless man 
Whom Nature led throughout her whole domain, 
While he, embodied, breathed ethereal air! 
Though panting in the play-hour of my youth 
I drank of Avon too, a dangerous draught, 
That roused within the feverish thirst of song, 
Yet never may I trespass o'er the stream 
Of jealous Acheron, nor alive descend 
The silent and unsearchable abodes 

Of Erebus and Night nor unchastised 
Lead up long-absent neroes into day." 

The supernatural region is at first trod by Gebir fearfully ; but 
when the brave doubt no longer they fear no longer, his name twice 
called reassures him, and striding on undaunted he iB about to speak, 
when one of the shades, Aroar, who had fought under his forefathers, 
addresses him : — 

u Thou knowest not that here thy fathers lie, 
The race of Sidad; theirs was loud acclaim 
When living, but their pleasure was in war; 
Triumphs and hatred followed: I myself 
Bore, men imagined, no inglorious part; 
The Gods thought otherwise,* by whose decree 
Deprived of life, and more, of death deprived, 
I still hear shrieking through the moonless night 
Their discontented and deserted shades.". • 

He describes the various degrees of torment through which their 
souls can alone hope to rise again purified. 

" Yet rather all these torments most endure 
Than solitary pain, and sad remorse, 
And towering thoughts on their own breast o'erturned 
And piercing to the heart — " 

for then they have bitter .knowledge of the sufferings they had in- 
flicted on earth, and of the worthlessness of the trophies, tributes, 
and colonies obtained in exchange for them, as they lie listening to 
the river that rolls past their place of expiation, 

* To the words "the Gods thought otherwise," a note was appended in the first edi- 
tion of Gebir (1798), which though afterwards withdrawn is sufficiently characteristic 
to justify its present reproduction. It anticipates by seventy years a sentiment of which i 
the public avowal the other day, in a controversy on the limits of religious thought, 
excited much warmth of admiration and animadversion. "Let not this be con- 
sidered," writes Landor, " as an imitation of the verse Diit afiter visum. There is no | 
great merit in quoting old quotations, however apposite, and I am of opinion that this 
singular passage has generally been misunderstood. Among all the fooleries which 
men have combined in their ideas of a deity, can there be a greater than that Gods and j 
mortals have a separate sense of right and* wrong? Were it really the case, religions ' 
men would become daily less zealous, and the life of the wicked would be but a game 
of chance. For the virtues of the one party might not stand for virtues; nor the 
rices of the other be marked for vices. There never was a doctrine more calcu- 
lated to make the generality of men despond, and to keep them dependent on the 
6oyfiMtwpyoL n 

XT. 22-3CX.] GEBIR. 55 

"Not rapid, that would rouse the wretched souls; 
Not calmly, that might lull them to repose; 
But with dull weary lapses it upheaved 
Billows of bale, heard low, yet heard afar." 

Beyond this river still move Gebir and his guide, till they come 
where perpetual twilight broods, " lulled by no nightingale,- nor 
wakened, by the shrill lark dewy-winged " ; having nevertheless 
glimpses beyond of those brighter airs 


" That scatter freshness through the groves 
And meadows of the fortunate, and fill 
With liquid light the marble bowl of Earth." 

And here are revealed by Aroar the laws that govern these regions, 
and the separation effected in them between the wicked and the 
good, or in other words the ambitious and the peaceful, by means of 
a flaming arch which once in every hundred years starts back, and, 
discovering to each state its opposite, shows that the eternal fires 
which seem intended only to punish the vicious, are giving also ver- 
dure and pleasantness to the groves of the blest. Calm pleasures 
neighbor the majestic pains, as in Wordsworth's later but as noble 

Figures and faces have meanwhile crowded past; the Stuarts, 
father and son, we may discover among them, and even William the 
deliverer ; but there is one whom Gebir challenges : and with what 
strong resentment the young poet viewed the obstinate war that 
George the Third had waged with the revolted colonies of America 
may be read in this passage. It needs not to say to whom the " eye- 
brows white and slanting brow " belonged ; but I may point out, what 
was better understood at the date of the poem than it has been since, 
that the two lines immediately following were intended to turn aside 
the treasonable reference by raising a confusion in the reader's mind, 
between George the Third and Louis Seize, who so recently had 
perished by the guillotine : — 

44 * What wretch that nearest us? what wretch 
Is that with eyebrows white and slanting brow? 
Listen ! him yonder, who, bound down supine, 
Shrieks yelling from that sword there engine-hung; 
He too among mv ancestors ? ' * King T 
Iberia bore him, but the breed accurst 
Inclement winds blew lightning from northeast.* 
'He was a warrior then, nor feared the Gods? ' 
' Gebir ! he feared the Demons, not the Gods, 
Though them indeed his daily face adored, 
And was no warrior; yet the' thousand lives 
Squandered as stones to exercise a sling, 
And the tame cruelty and cold caprice — 
O madness of mankind ! addrest, adored ! 
O Gebir ! what are men ? or where are Gods ? ' " 

But the time has come to reascend to earth ; and with groans and 
tears Gebir has called bitterly to his tortured ancestors as he turns 
to retrace his way, when suddenly flames environ him, and he 

56 gebir; and earliest friendships. SS^^S 

"stands breathless in a ghost's embrace." It is his father; wlic 
for binding him to the vow that had made him invader and exile, waj 
now expiating that guilt. 

" \Rackt on the fiery centre of the Ban, 
Twelve years I saw the ruined world roll round. 
Shudder not; I have borne it; I deserved 
My wretched fate; be better thine; farewell.* " 

Saddened with the misery he has witnessed, remorseful for the pasi 
and doubtful of the future, but with present power over the Egyp- 
tians increased by the experience he has undergone, Gebir follows 
upward his bewildered way till again he finds himself within the 
tents of his people. They have resumed their labors successfully ; 
but in the court of the young queen there is jealousy and discontent, 
and in her own breast, as she is told of each new development of the 
invader's power, fear contends with love. 

u Charoba, though indeed she never drank 
The liquid pearl, or twined the nodding crown,* 
Or, when she wanted cool and calm repose, 
Dreamt of the crawling asp and grated tomb, 
Was wretched up to royalty ! " 

This is the subject of the Fourth Book. ' Her wretchedness is im- 
bittered by the cry raised from the court against the followers of 
Gebir, which the wiser few, who dare to suggest that 'invaders may be 
bringers even of good rather than evil, are at first powerless to resist. 
The rejoinder to these wiser hopes had an application of wide signifi- 
cance seventy years ago, made to such proposals abundantly in later 


" ' Build they not fairer cities than our own, 
Extravagant enormous apertures 
For light, and portals larger, open courts 
Where all ascending all are unconfined, 
And wider streets in purer air than ours? 
Temples quite plain with equal architraves 
They build, nor bearing gods like ours imbost 
profanation ! our ancestors ! ' " 

Foremost among the discontented is the queen's nurse Dalica, to 
whom she cannot bring herself frankly to confess her love, even while 
she pleads with herself for kindlier consideration to him. But apart 
from the intriguers in the court, the mass of the people outside have 
raised a clamorous shout for peace, making common cause with 
Gebir's followers ; and they who would have resisted the invader arc 
overborne. On all sides the demand goes up for an embassy to tho 
tents proposing terms of friendship, and cries of eager joy are heard 
uniting with the name of Gebir that of their young queen. 

" Then went the victims forward crowned with flowers. 
Crowned were tame crocodiles, and boys white-robed 
Guided their creaking crests across the stream. 


* An allusion to Cleopatra's shaking poison into Antony's cup from the crown » f 
flowers in her hair, to cure him of his useless precautions against the fear of poisou. 

£T.22-yk] GEBIB. 57 

In gilded barges went the female train, . . ^ 
Sweet airs or music ruled the rowing palms, 
Now rose they glistening and aslant reclined, 
Now they descended and with one consent 
Plunging, seemed swift each other to pursue, 
And now to tremble wearied o 'er the wave." 

A picture follows of the grave invading warriors, in weloome of 
whom the riotous festivities had broken forth. 

" Through all the plains below the Gadite men 
Were resting from their labor: some surveyed . 
The spacious site ere yet obstructed; walls 
Already, soon will roofs have interposed; 
Some ate their frugal viands on the steps 
Contented; some, remembering home, prefer 
The cot's bare rafters o'er the gilded dome, 
And sing (for often sighs too end in song), 
* In smiling meads how sweet the brook's repose 
To the rough ocean and red restless sands ! * 
But others trip along with hasty step 
Whistling, and fix too soon on their abodes; 
Haply and one among them with his spear 
Measures the lintel, if so great its height 
As will receive him with his helm unlowered." 

The embassy from Charoba to Gebir, with its message and gifts of 
, next comes upon the scene. 

" Meantime, with pomp august and solemn, borne 

" llK.ll 

On four white camels tinkling plates of gold, 
Heralds before and Ethiop slaves behind . . . 
The four ambassadors of peace proceed. 
Rich carpets bear they, corn ana generous wine, 
The Syrian olive's cheerful gift they bear, 
With stubborn goats that eye the mountain-top 
Askance, and not with reluctant horn. . . . 
The king, who sat before his tent, descried 
The dust rise reddened from the setting sun." 

But while friendliest words, and a bidding to the banquet that is to 
proclaim to the reconciled nations the union of their two monarchs, 
we laid at Gebir's feet, the nurse Dalica, who had seemed to favor 
toost the projected festivity, has already begun her treacherous enter- 
prise. This is the subject of the Fifth Book. It is not wholly the 
desire to retain power over her mistress that animates her. She 
^ly loves Charoba, and cannot understand the change that the 
Presence of Gebir has wrought in her. The fines following, the 
^der may be pleased to know, were specially singled out for admira- 
tion by Shelley, Humphry Davy, Scott, Charles Lamb, and many re* 
^kable men. 

" ' Past are three summers since she first beheld 
* The ocean; all around the child await 

Some exclamation of amazement here : 

She coldly said, her long-lasht eyes abased, 

/• this the mighty ocean f is this all T 

That wondrous soul Charoba once possest, 

Capacious then as earth or heaven could hold, 

Soul discontented with capacity, 

Is gone (I fear) forever. Need I say 

She was enchanted by the wicked spells 


58 gebir; and earliest friendships. SSJ^sJ 

Of Gebir, whom with lust of power inflamed 
The western winds have landed on our coast? 
I since have watcht her m her lone retreat, 
Have heard her sigh and soften out the name . . ." 

Gebir, too, has been watched by Dalica ; spies set on by her laav< 
followed him, and have reported his solitary wanderings and. self 
communings, even his strange loud laughter and his ghastly smile 
until finally his death is resolved on. And for this dread purpose 
she makes her way to the lonely and deserted ruins of the city of 
Masar, in which her sister Merthyr, a sorceress and enchantress, 
practises her foul spells. This was another of the passages which 
Shelley was never tired of reciting ; and certainly in the modulation 
of the verse, the beauty of the flow and pause in the rhythm, there 
is what might have satisfied the ear of Milton himself! 

" Once a fair city, courted then by kings, 
Mistress of nations, thronged bv palaces, 
Raising her head o'er destiny, ner face 
Glowing with pleasure and with palms refresht, 
Nov pointed at by Wisdom or by Wealth, 
Bereft of beauty, bare of ornament, 
Stood, in the wilderness of woe, Masar. 
' Ere far advancing, all appeared a plain ; 

Treacherous and fearful mountains, far advanced; 
Her glory so gone down, at human step 
The fierce hyena frighted from the walls 
Bristled his rising back, his teeth unsheathed, 
Drew the long growl and with slow foot retired." 

A recognition takes place between the sisters, and the witch be- 
lieves that Dalica, tired of the lamps and jewels of a court, has come 
to close her life in vigils of the moon ; until she confesses that the 
purpose of her visit is to obtain a poisoned robe which she may fling 
over Gebir at the coming festival, offering homage and giving death. 
Merthyr eagerly consents; and even Dalica is appalled as she 
watches her grim enjoyment through each successive stage of horrible 
preparation, gathering the herbs, mutilating venomous creatures for 
their poison, and weaving on her spindle the dread dark purple 

" Her thus entranced the sister's voice recalled: 
' Behold it here ! dyed once again, 't is done. 1 
Then Merthyr seized with bare bold-sinewed arm 
The grav cerastes, writhing from her grasp,* 
And twisted off his horn, nor feared to squeeze 
The viscous poison from his glowing gums . . . 
Together those her sclent hand combined . . . 
Which done, with words most potent, thrice she dipt 
The reeking garb ; thrice waved it through the air. 
She ceast ; and suddenly the creeping wool 
Shrank up with crisped drvness in her hands : 
4 Take this/ she cried, ( anA Gebir is no more.' " 

The Sixth and Seventh Books remain, of which the purpose is to 
exhibit, in vivid contrast, the happy issue of the love of Tamar and , 

* I possess a copy of Odrir, in which at these picturesque lines Landor mentions that 
\ in this and other matters he had drawn information from the pages (not then appre- 
• ciated as they ought to have been) of the great traveller Bruce. 

the disastrous close of that of Gebir. To Gebir warnings are 

abroad, — 

u With horrid chorus, Pain, Diseases, Death, 
Stamp on the slippery pavement of the proud, 
And ring their sounding emptiness through earth," 

even while the sea-nymph offers to his brother " the ocean, her, 

himself, and peace." On the morning that is to unite them, the very 
waves over which she is to lead him to her home prefigure the com- 
ing happiness. 

** The waves beneath in purpling rows, like doves 
Glancing with wanton coyness tow'rd their queen, 
Heaved softly; thus the damsel's bosom heaves 
When from her sleeping lover's downy cheek, 
To which so warily her own she brings 
Each moment nearer, she perceives the warmth 
Of coming kisses fanned by playful Dreams." 

His countrymen are watching from the beach (this is very Greek) : — 

44 But nothing see they, save a purple mist 
Roll from the distant mountain down the shore: 
It rolls, it sails, it settles, it dissolves : 
Then shines the Nymph to human eye revealed, 
And leads her Tamar timorous o'er the waves. 
Immortals crowding round congratulate 
The shepherd . . . 

But even in these hours of supreme joy the evil brooding over his 
brother shakes the heart of the shepherd prince ; and, " leaning o'er 
the boy beloved," the morning after their espousals, "in Ocean's 
grot, where Ocean was unheard," the sea-nymph has to kiss his fears 
away. His grief dispersed, pleasure and strength return ; and, as 
she touches his eyes, the wonders of the watery realm are successively 

revealed to them : — 

14 First arose 
To his astonisht and delighted view 
The sacred isle that shrines the queen of love. 
It stood so near him, so acute each sense, 
That not the symphony of lutes alone 
Or coo serene or billing strife of doves, 
But murmurs, whispers, nay the very sighs 
Which he himself had uttered once, ne heard. 
Next, but long after and far off, appear 
The cloud-like cliffs and thousand towers of Crete, 
And farther to the right the Cyclades . . . 
He saw the land of relops, host of Gods, 
Saw the steep ridge where Corinth after stood 
Beckoning the Ionlans with the smiling Arts 
Into her sunbright bay. . . . 
And now the chariot of the Sun descends, 
The waves rush hurried from his foaming steeds, 
Smoke issues from their nostrils at the gate. 
Which, when they enter, with huge golden bar 
Atlas and Calpe close across the sea/' 

The Seventh and last Book tells its story in a series of pictures. 
The first shows the warriors at their games, while 

" Others push forth the prows of their compeers, 
And the wave, parted oy the pouncing beak, 

60 gebir; and eablibst friendships. KS^sil 

Swells up the sides and closes far astern : 

The silent oars now dip their level wings, 

And weary with strong stroke the whitening wave. 

Others, afraid of tardiness, return: 

Now, entering the still harbor, every surge 

Runs with a louder murmur up their keel, 

And the slack cordage rattles round the mast.'* 

Gebir is then presented to us : — 

" Sleepless with pleasure and expiring fears 
Had Gebir riseu ere the break of dawn, 
And o'er the plains appointed for the feast 
Hurried with ardent step: the swains admired 
What so transversely could haVe swept the dew! " 

Charoba next ; a masterpiece of exquisite description : — 

" Not thus Charoba: she despaired the day; 
The day .was present; true; yet she despaired. 
In the too tender and once tortured heart 
Doubts gather strength from habit, like disease; 
Fears, like the needle verging to the pole, 
Tremble and tremble into certainty. . . . 
Next to her chamber, closed by cedar doors, 
A bath of purest marble, purest wave, 
On its fair surface bore its pavement high: 
Arabian gold enchased the crystal roof, 
With fluttering boys adorned and girls unrobed; 
These, when you touch the quiet water, start 
From their aerial sunny arch, and pant 
Entangled 'mid each other's flowery wreaths, 
And each pursuing is in turn pursued. 
Here came at last, as ever went at morn, 
Charoba: long she lingered at the brink, 
Often she sighed, and, naked as she was, 
Sat down, and leaning on the couch's edge, 
On the soft inward pillow of her arm 
Rested her burning cheek: she moved her eyes; 
She blusht; and blushing plunged into the wave." 

Gebir has made no declaration yet, but the day when he is to meet 
the queen is that which all expect to be their nuptial-day ; and this 
meeting of the monarchs, amid the frantic exultation of the peoples, 
is the scene next presented to us : from which, onward to the end, an 
accumulating wealth of imagery, and of descriptions outvying each 
other in picturesqueness, is poured out with marvellous and appar- 
ently unconscious ease. As Hazlitt so finely said when Shakespeare's 
scene was also laid in Egypt, there is a richness like the overflowing 
of the Nile. I can spare however but small space for it, 

" Now brazen chariots thunder through each street, 
And neighing steed* paw proudly from delay. 
While o'er the palace breathes the dulcimer^ 
Lute, and aspiring harp, and lisping reed, — 
Loud rush the trumpets bursting through the throng 
And urge the high-snouldered vulgar . . . 
Now murmurs, like the sea or like the storm 
Or like the flames on forests, move and mount 
From rank to rank, and loud and louder roll, 
Till all the people is one vast applause. 
Yes, 't is herself, Charoba 1 Now the strife 

£t. 22-30.J GEBIR. 61 

To see again a form so often seen- . . . 

She goes, the king awaits her from the camp: 

Him she descried, and trembled ere he reacnt 

Her car; but shuddered paler at his voice. 

So the pale silver at the festive board 

Grows paler filled afresh and dewed with wine; 

So seems the tenderest herbage of the spring 

To whiten, bending from a balmy gale. 

The beauteous queen alighting he received, 

And sighed to loose her from his arms ; she hung 

A little longer on them through her fears." 

That is very delicate and truthful ; and the same gentleness of 
touch is repeated where, as Gebir's face changes under the influence 
of the poisoned robe, Charoba in her tenderness misinterprets it, and 
expects the declaration of his love. The lofty thrones had been 
erected for their meeting on the shore, commanding land and sea; 
and as queen and monarch take their seats, 

" The brazen clarion hoarsens : many leagues 
Above them, many to the south, the heron 
Rising with hurried croak and throat outstretch^ 
Ploughs up the silvering surface of her plain. 
Tottering with age's zeal and mischief s naste 
Then was discovered Dalica: she reacht 
The throne, she leant against the pedestal, 
And now ascend iag stood before tne king. 
Prayers for his health and safety she preferred, 
Ana o'er his head and o'er his feet she threw 
Myrrh, nard, and cassia, from three golden urns; 
His robe of native woof she next removed. 
And round his shoulders drew the garb accursed, 
And bowed her head, departing. Soon the queen 
Saw the blood mantling in his manly cheeks. 
And feared, and faltering sought her lost replies. 
And blessed the silence that she wished were broke. 
Alas, unconscious maiden ! . . . 
Scarcely, with pace uneven, knees unnerved, 
Reacht he the waters: in his troubled ear, 
They sounded murmuring drearily; they rose 
Wild, in strange colors, to his parching eyes: 
They seemed to rush around him, seemed to lift 
From the receding earth his helpless feet 
He fell: Charoba shriek t aloud; she ran 
Frantic with fears and fondness, mazed with woe, 
' Nothing but Gebir dying she beheld. 

The turban that betrayed its golden charge 
Within, the veil that clown her shoulder hung, 
All fallen at her feet ! the farthest wave 
Creeping with silent progress up the sand 
Glided through all, and raised their hollow folds." 

She appeals to Dalica ; she acquits her of any complicity with what 
8he thinks the demons of her land have done ; she invokes the pity 
and protection of her dead mother ; she upbraids the Gods ; she pours 
out unrestrained the whole wild passion of her love for Gebir. 

u Thus raved Charoba: horror, grief, amaze, 
Pervaded all the host; all eyes were fixt; 
All stricken motionless and 'mute: the feast 
Was like the feast of Cepheus, when the sword 
Of Phineus, white with wonder, shook restrained, 


And the hilt rattled in his marble hand.* 
She- heard not, saw not, every sense was gone; 
One passion banisht all ; dominion, praise, 
The world itself, was nothing. Senseless man! 
What would thy fancy figure now from worlds ? 
There is no world to those that grieve and love." 

The dying chief's last thought, meanwhile, is not of grandeur or 
of glory, or even of the desire for life, but of his happiness in carrying 
with him to the unknown realm, " more precious than the jewels that 
surround the necks of kings entombed'," the pity and the tears of 
Charoba. The peoples are driven asunder once again ; and there falls 
upon the separating hosts all the darkness of which there was fore- 
boding even while the morning broke in happiness, — that night 
would close, and love and sovranty and life dissolve, and Egypt be 
" one desert drencht in blood." 

It may now be a matter of some interest to the reader to know 
that every passage thus quoted appeared in the poem as originally 
published in 1798, and that not a line in any of them underwent 
alteration in the three subsequent reprints. The first, published 
early in the present century at Oxford, and to which further allusion 
will shortly be made, was a careful reproduction of the original, with 
some lines added and none omitted, but with correction of its multi- 
tude of misprints, and with explanatory notes and arguments. This 
earliest reprint appeared under the editorship of Mr. Robert Landor, 
who from his youth has had the admiration of a thinker and poet for 
this extraordinary poem ; and the third, or latest, which appeared in 
the Collected Works of 1846, was as careful a reproduction of the copy 
which Landor had before included in his volume of Poems published 
in 1831, where again his additions were but very few, though his 
omissions were too full of meaning not to have mention here. 

In the year when Gebir was written the world was ringing with the 
victories of Bonaparte ; and a part of the vision of his descendants 
revealed to Tamar on his nuptial voyage, while they passed the 
islands of Sardinia and Corsica, had prefigured as arising amid the 
latter • 

J "A mortal man above all mortal praise," 

and had depicted, under color of the triumph of the race of Tamar, a 
victorious march of the French Republic from the Garonne to the 
Rhine : — 

" How grand a prospect opens ! Alps o'er Alps 
Tower, to survey the triumphs that proceed. 
There, while Garumna dances in the gloom 
Of larches, 'mid her naiads, or reclined 
Leans on a broom-clad bank to watch the sports 
Of some far-distant chamois silken-haired, 
The chaste Pyrenl, drying up her tears, 

* The intense dramatic force and suddenness of this allusion will especially strike 
the reader who remembers the story, as told by Ovid, of Phineus changed to marble by 
the Gorgon shield of Perseus. 

*T. 22-3O.] GEBIR. 63 

Finds, with your children, refuge: yonder, Rhine 
Lays bis imperial sceptre at their feet" 

S&y, even Time itself, and the Seasons, were now to acknowledge 
their masters ; for had not the months and weeks and days them- 
1 selves taken new names ! 

" What hoary form so vigorous vast bends there ? 
Time, — Time himself throws off his motley garb 
Figured with monstrous men and monstrous Gods, 
And in pure vesture enters their pure fanes, 
A proud partaker of their festivals. 
Captivity led captive, War overthrown. 
They shall o'er Europe, shall o'er Earth extend 
Empire that seas alone and skies confine, 
Ana glory that shall strike the crystal stars." 

But now that these hopes had broken down, and the glorious ex- 
pectation was over, the lines, with sundry others in similar strain, 
▼ere swept entirely away ; Landor merely remarking in one of his 
x letters to Southey that he had cut out the political allusions. With 
one exception,* all the passages thus omitted were taken from the 
Third and Sixth Books, and consisted of something over 150 lines. 
The additions, on the other hand, did not exceed fifty lines, and were 
intended to make more intelligible those passages of the tale in which 
the pruning-knife had before been used too freely. Speaking of this 
himself in his Preface to the 1831 edition of the Poems, — after tell- 
ing us that Gebir was written in his twentieth year ; that many parts 
were first composed in Latin, and he doubted in which language to 
complete it ; and that he had lost the manuscript, but found it after- 
wards in a box of letters, — he adds, that before printing it he re- 
duced it nearly to half. In substance this was the account he always 
gave, though the circumstances varied a little in his memory, f Writ- 

* Of this exception I will preserve in a note, for their beauty of cadence and expres- 
sion, and because they were especially liked by Southey, the few lines that opened the 
poem: — 

44 When old Silenus called the Satyrs home, 
Satyrs then tender-hooft and ruddy-horned, 
With Bacchus and the Nymphs, he sometimes rose 
Amidst the tale or pastoral, and showed 
The light of purest wisdom : and the God 
Scattered with wholesome fruit the pleasant plains." 

t For example, adverting in a poem of his later life to these early days in Wales, and 
his adventures with his pony Fidler, he gives a different version of Gebir' 8 loss and 

M Sixty the years since Fidler bore 

My grouse-bag up the Bala Moor; 

A Dove the lake, along the lea. 

Where gleams tne darkly yellow Dee; 

Througn crap, o'er cliffs,! carried there 

My verses with paternal care, 

But left them, and went home again 

To wing the birds upon the plain. 

With heavier luggage half forgot, 

For many months tney followed not. 

When over Tawey's sands they came 
• Brighter flew up my winter flame. . . . 

Gebir! men shook their heads in doubt 

If we were sane : few made us out 

Beside one stranger ..." 

64 gebir; and earliest friendships. SSt^Si 

ingto me in 1857 of Aurora Leigh* he exclaims : "What loads I 
carted off from Gebir in order to give it proportion, yet nearly all 
would have liked it better with incorrectness " ; and in a letter to 
Southey, forty years earlier, he had written : " As to Gebir, I am 
certain that I rejected what almost every man would call the. best 
part. I am afraid that 1 have boiled away too much, and that some- 
thing of a native flavor has been lost in procuring a stronger and 
more austere one." 

But though it is probable that some stop was thus put to the 
popularity of a poem where, as Coleridge said of it, the eminences 
were so excessively bright and the ground so dark around and 
between them, Landor is in a greater measure to be accounted 
fortunate, that thus early he could exercise the power invaluable to 
a poet, and which even to the best arrives often too late ,, of select ion 
and compression. Among its advantages in the present case Is^un- 
doulJtedt^ this, that what the poem was at its first publication, it 
remains still ; it has not been improved into something altogether 
different ; and the reader's certainty that the passages of it now laid 
before him are unaltered since the' boyish years when they were 
written, will increase his interest in the further development of so 
extraordinary a mind. 


The publication is thus described by Mr. Robert Landor : " Of 
Gebir he had the highest expectations, and yet it was intrusted to a 
very small bookseller at Warwick, without any one to correct the 
press, in the form of a sixpenny pamphlet. Excepting to some per- 
sonal friends, it remained quite unknown till an article appeared, 
written by Southey, in the Critical Review, full of generous commen- 
dation. This was the beginning of their friendship. A few literary 
. j men only — Shelley, Reginald Heber, and, I think, Coleridge — read 
the poem even then ; and hardly a hundred copies were sold, till a 
much better edition, with a Latin translation, was published at 
Oxford under my superintendence. I discharged the office of editor 
quite unassisted by the author, who always seems to have felt a ner- 
vous bashfulness which transferred his works to the care of other 
people. \ Bashfulness doubtful of their success, not of their merits.") 

This remark explains the brief preface to the poem in which was 
thrown down so characteristically the measure of its author's expec- 

• • " I am reading a poem," he says, " full of thought and fascinating with fancy, — 
} Mrs. Browning's Aurora Leigh, In many pages, and particularly 126 and 127, there 
is the wild imagination of Shakespeare. I nave not yet read much further. I had no 
idea that any one in this age was capable of so much poetry. I am half drunk with it. 
Never did I think I should nave a good hearty draught of poetry again : the distemper 
had got into the vineyard that produced it. Here are indeed, even here, some flies 
upon the surface, as there always will be upon what is sweet and strong. I know, not 
N yet what the story is. Few possess the power of construction." 

' £1. 22 -3°^] B0ME OPINIONS OF GEB1R. 65 

tat ions. After describing it as principally written in Wales, and the 
fruit of idleness and ignorance, for " had he been a botanist or miner- 
alogist it never had been written," he mentions the Arabian tale he 
had taken the hint of its story from, speaks of the few English 
writers who had succeeded in blank verse, distinguishing above all 
tf the poet of our republic " ; and closes by saying : "lam aware 
bow much I myself stand in need of favor. I demand some little 
from Justice : I entreat much more from Candor. If there, are now 
in England ten men of taste and genius who will applaud my poem, 
I declare myself fully content. I will call for a division ; I shall 
eount a majority." 

The late Mr. De Quincey grudged him even the ten. He pro-, 
tested there were only two, and that he had for some time vainly J 
u conceited " himself to be the sole purchaser and .reader. Landor I 
remarked upon this with amusing warmth in one of his letters to me 
in 1853 : " It must have been under the influence of his favorite 
drug that he fancied Southey telling him he believed they were the 
only two who had read Gebir. Mr. De Quincey was not acquainted 
with Southey until very many years after he had written a noble | 
panegyric on the poem inserted in the Critical Review in 1798. He 
did not know me until long after : but he had ill that year recom- 
mended the poem to Charles Wynne, who told me so ; and to the 
two Hebers ; and to Coleridge, who praised it highly until he was 
present when Southey read or repeated parts of it before a large 
company, after which, if ever he mentioned it at all, it was slight- 
ingly. Mr. De Quincey appears to have had another dream, too, of a 
conversation with Southey in which they agreed that I imitated 
Valerius Flaccus, whose poem I never had opened, but have looked 
into lately, and find it intolerable to get through beyond 200 lines.* 
These dreams and the records of them will pass away ; but * exoriare 
aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor.' I think I know who this will be, and 
1 expect no earlier vindication." 

Not in the year of its publication, but in the September of the 
year following, Southey's notice appeared in the Critical Review. This 
1 shall remark upon here, because of its writer ; though my mention 
of the only other published review, which dates several months later, 
and was conceived in a very different spirit, must be reserved to 
another section. Southey 'a criticism was thin and colorless, but his 
tone was sufficiently laudatory. An outline of the story was given ; 
such passages as " the Shell " were quoted, with the remark that the 
reader who did not instantly perceive their beauty must have a soul 
blind to the world of poetry ; other passages were characterized as 
more Homeric than anything in modern poetical writing ; and while, 

* That this was not altogether a dream, however, is presumable from the fact that 
Southey, in a notice in the Annual Review of Landor' s Poetry by the Author of Gebir, to 
be presently mentioned, used this very comparison ; and probably De Quincey derived 
his impression, not from the conversation, but from the review. 



of the faults of the poem, those of an ill-chosen story and of a fre- 
quent absence of perspicuity in the language were pointed out as 
the most conspicuous, it was said of its beauties that they were of the 
first order, and that every circumstance was displayed with a force 
and accuracy which painting could not exceed. " It is not our busi- 
ness," Southey said in conclusion, after quoting the challenge from 
the author's preface given above, " to examine whether he has under- 
stated the number of men of taste and genius in England, but we 
have read' his poem repeatedly with more than common attention, 
and with far more than common delight." 

Before the review appeared, Southey had been speaking of the £oem 
in the same strain to his private friends. To Cottle he wrote : 
" There is a poem called Gebir, of which I know not whether my re- 
view of it in the Critical be yet printed ; but in that review you will 

* find some of the most exquisite poetry in the language. ... I would 
go a hundred miles to see the (anonymous) author." To Grosvenor 
Bedford in the following month he wrote : " There is a poem called 
Gebir, written by God knows who, sold for a shilling ; it has miracu- 
lous beauties." Of William Taylor, of Norwich, a few days later, he 
asked if he had seen the poem ; called it the miraculous work of a 

, madman ; said it was like a picture in whose obscure coloring no plan 
\ was discoverable, but in whose every distinct touch the master-hand 
• was visible ; and compared its intelligible passages to flashes of light- 
ning at midnight. After a few months he started for Lisbon to visit 
his Uncle Hill, and before going wrote to Coleridge : " I take with 
I me for the voyage your poems, the Lyrics, the Lyrical Ballads, and 
I Gebir, — these make all my library. I like 1 Gebir more and more ; 

* if you ever meet its author, tell him I took it with me on a journey." 
Detained on the point of sailing by westerly winds at Falmouth, he 
wrote to his brother the sea-captain that his time had been passed 
in walking on the beach sighing for northeasters, admiring the sea- 
anemonies, and reading Gebir. On arrival at Lisbon he wrote again to 
Coleridge, advising him once more to read Gebir; "he grows upon 
me." He was now himself writing Thalaba, and in the preface men- 
tions the great improvement to his own verse in vividness and 
strength which he was sensible of having at this time derived from 
the frequent perusal of Gebir. After his return, in another letter to 
Coleridge, he alludes to the circumstance of their friend Humphry 
Davy having fallen stark mad with a play called the Conspiracy of 
Gourrie, which was by Rough, and a mere copy of that wonderful 

1 original, Gebir. This was in July, 1801 ; at which date also he was 
writing to Davy himself the letter before quoted,* which notices his 
first acquaintance with Landor's name, and his recollection of him at 
Oxford : " How could you compare this man's book with Rough's ? 
The lucid passages of Gebir axe all palpable to the eye ; they are the 
master-touches of a painter, — there is power in them, and passion, 

• Ante, p. 29. 


aod thought, and knowledge." The other he regarded as imitations 
merely, with a leading dash of Gebir through the whole. 

This was not substantially unjust, though harshly expressed ; but 
Bough nevertheless was a clever and noteworthy person, whose ad- 
1 miration Landor was glad to have for his own poem, and to repay in 
\ generous fashion by no niggard praise of the poem written in imi- 
tation of it. They were for some time on very friendly terms ; and 
some letters of Rough's between the date of 1800 and 1802 are pre- 
served among Landor's papers. It will be time to advert to them 
vhen, with other friends of this early date connected with Warwick 
and its neighborhood, Rough will shortly reappear. I must not, 
meanwhile, omit to add that even among those Warwickshire ac- 
quaintance Gebir was not so fortunate as to find only friends. 

At his father's house, in the two years between his retreat to 
Wales and the publication of his poem, Landor had been a frequent 
visitor ; and during the seven unsettled years that followed before 
Doctor Landor's death, when neither pursuit nor place, nor, indeed, 
persons, attracted him for many months together, he was made wel- 
come whenever he returned to Warwick ; but to his father's especial \ 
friends, there can be little doubt, he was at all times less accommo- \ 
dating than he might have been. One of them was Miss Seward, a 
Staifordshire bluestocking so celebrated in those days that no less a 
person than Walter Scott became one of her editors ; and her he 
flatly refused to meet only a few months before Gebir appeared. The 
lively lady remembered the slight ; and took revenge characteristi- 
cally in the remark of one of her letters,* that nobody but the author of 
such a poem as Gebir could have written the review of it in the Critical. 
Southey (whom she thought a greater poet than Wordsworth or Cole- 
ridge, and was fond of comparing to Milton) tried to propitiate Lan- 
dor's wrath and protect his fair friend's memory, when this unlucky 
letter Game to light ; but he was not successful. Landor replied with 

• The letter is dated in July, 1800, and addressed to one of the hangers-on of Parr, a 
clergyman named Fellowes, who wrote a " Picture of Christian Philosophy " and 
ccher volumes savoring more of the sentimental than the orthodox; but known in later 
year» more favorably by active participation in some good works. ** There is no longer 
any wooder that the Critical fievitw should praise that obscure fustian epic, Gaoor 
(*&), since I learn from you that the author and critic are one person. I nave been 
told that he has considerable talents and learning. Gabor is no proof of the first, since 
to think clearly is inseparable from great strength of intellect; though we often see 
wbolastic knowledge exist in a mind where the lights of imagination, if they shine at 
all, shine but by glimpses, and where the judgment is wholly opake " (v. 296). A 
couple of years later she wrote to Todd, the editor of Spenser ana Milton, to console 
kirn for some adverse notice in the Critical by telling him how malicious she had al- 
ways found " that tract" to be in noticing herself; "though I think I can stand it un- 
woiroded, beneath the reflection that I have seen that tract lavishing encomiums on 
the mnet unintelligible fustian that ever bore the name of an epic poem. It called 
itself GtAir." (She had got the right name at last.) u Sonthev told a friend of 
arine lately that it was the finest poetic work which had appeared these fifty years. 
So Johnson stilted up Blackmore " (vi. 29). A few months later, too, when Mr. Fol- 
lower had sent a fresn supply of ill-natured gossip about Landor, she tells him how 
" charmed f * she is with what he savs of the author of GeWr, " and his other projected 
epic ** ( vi. 77). One cannot but feel that there is a relish of personal offence in all this, 
tad that Landor's way of accounting for it is probably the right one. 

68 gebir; and earliest friendships. [ ,^°-1^i 

a beat which, in its amazing disproportion to both the offence and 
the offender, is too characteristic to be lost. 

" I shall not see anything more than the backs of Miss Seward's Letters. I 
attempted to read her Life of Darwin, but was so disgusted by her impu- 
dence I threw it down. Some of her poetry may be better. My father 
and my aunts were rather intimate with her. I never saw her. She was 
so polite as to say she should be very happy to see me, and added some 
high-flown and idle compliment on verses, very indifferent, which I wrote 
at seventeen. I am not surprised she liked them better than Gebir. They 
were more like her own. In reply to her courtesy I said what she never 
should have heard, 'that I preferred a pretty woman to a literary one.* 
From that time to the present, about thirteen years, I never heard any- 
thing more about her in which I was concerned. It vexes, I must own to 
you it more than vexes, it afflicts and torments me, to have it disseminated 
in circulating libraries and country book-clubs that I condescended to that 
last and vilest of all baseness, my own praises in a review. I know not any 

accusation so hateful. And this impudent seems well to have known 

my character in selecting it for her rancor. I do not imagine that Mr. 
Gifford himself said this. Other men have the privilege of complaining- 
which God and nature never permitted me. This stigma may burn into 
me till it burns through me : meaner men would bite and scratch it off." 

This letter was written in 1811, before I was born ; and a quarter 
of a century later, as I well remember, one of the first of his letters 
addressed to myself contained an entire battery of the epigrams 
which he had now fired off against Miss Seward and her friends, and 
had thought worth preserving all those years. 

One of the friends was the Mr. Fellowes who seems to have told 
her first of the supposed identity of the poet and his critic, " very 
cavalierly," as Southey wrote to his friend. " This Fellowes," Landor 
replied, " is a person I often met at Parr's. I never knew that he 
spoke cavalierly except to his wife, whom he beat and separated from. 
I never exchanged a syllable with him.* ) At Parr's I converse only 
with Parr." Somewhat unconsciously a characteristic trait is here 
let drop, of which there is an accurate illustration in one of his 
brother's letters. Referring to what was certainly true of Landor to 
the last, that, with noble bursts of energy in his talk, his temperament 
disqualified him for anything like sustained reasoning, and he in- 
stinctively turned away from discussion or argument, his brother had 
mentioned having seen him in his youth rush from the table of one 
of his own political friends, provoked by some slight contradiction 
that appeared disrespectful, when in truth there was no disrespect 

* That remark would probably explain the sentence in one of Mr. Follower's letters 
which quite enchanted Miss Seward when she read it. " The author of Gebir, who 
lives in this neighborhood, has lately made another attempt to convey the waters of 

, Helicon by leaden pipes, and many dark subterranean ways, into the channel of the 
Avon. I have not seen these last effusions of his Muse; but, having trod the dark pro- 

' found of Gebir, I feel no inclination to begin another journey which promises so little 
pleasure, arid probably where only a few occasional flashes will enlighten the road/* 
The attempt thus charitably spoken of was a thin little volume of Poetry by the Author 
of Gebir to be presently again mentioned. 


but only a slight difference threatening controversy. " It was from 
Doctor Parr's table," Mr. Robert Landor replied to my further inquiry, 
'* that he rushed so furiously ; but not in' anger with the Doctor, 
*hom he always liked and with whom he never quarrelled. His 
anger was provoked by a Warwick physician whom he met there, — a 
Doctor Winthrop, — who felt astonished at the offence he had given. 
A very feeble reasoner who could govern his temper might be sure 
of victory over one, ten times his superior, who could not. Some 
slight interruption, even a smile, was provocation enough, if there 
were many witnesses present at the controversy, to decide it." His 
uwn assertion that at Parr's he never conversed but with Parr is 
made quite intelligible to us by this comment. Yet his intercourse 
Tith the old liberty -loving scholar and divine was very much the hap- 
piest, and far from the least profitable, of this period of his life ; and 
it continued, without abatement of regard on either side, for many years. 
Before account is given of it, one more opinion of Gebir shall be 
interposed. It anticipates my narrative by a few years, but expresses 
with singular vividness the fascination with which the poem seized 
from time to time on minds of the highest order, the attention there- 
by directed to its author from men whose notice constituted fame, 
and the degree of compensation so afforded by the few for the persist- 
ent neglect and dislike of the many. 

Four years before Gebir appeared, Shelley was born, and its influ- 
j ence over him at more than one period of his life is recorded by his 
j wife in her edition of his Poems. When he was at Oxford in 1811, 
j we are told by the friend and fellow-collegian who was most intimate 
with him there, he would at times read nothing else ; and Mr. Hogg 
relates that on the frequent occasions when he found him so occupied, 
it was hopeless to draw his attention away. There was something in 
the poem which in a peculiar manner caught his fancy. He would 
read it aloud to others, or to himself, with a tiresome pertinacity. 
One morning his friend went into his rooms to tell him something 
of importance, but he would attend to nothing but Gebir ; whereupon 
Hogg describes himself with a young impatience snatching the book 
u out of the obstinate fellow's hand " and throwing it through the open 
window into the quadrangle ; but unavailingly, — for as it fell upon 
the grass-plat, and was brought presently back by the servant, again 
Shelley became absorbed in it, and the something of importance had 
to wait to another time. " I related this incident at Florence," adds 
Mr. Hogg, " some years afterwards, and after the death of my poor 
friend, to the highly gifted author. He heard it with his hearty, 
cordial, genial laugh. ' Well, you must allow it is something to have 
produced what could please one fellow-creature, and offend another, 
so much.' " * 

• Life of SkdUff, I. 201. " I regret," Mr. Hogg conclude*. " that these two intellect- 
ual perrons were not acquainted with each other. If I could confer a real benefit upon 
a friend, I would procure for him, if it were possible, the friendship of Walter Savage 


70 gebir; and earliest friendships. V^f^i*! 

Nothing has been said of Gebir better than that ; and when corred 
adjustment has been made of the relative values of praise and cei 
sure received by it, from those it so greatly pleased and those it s 
much offended, its place will at last be accurately ascertained. 


In the first article written by Sydney Smith in the Edinburgh Re 
view, he reproachfully called attention to the fact that by far ttu 
most learned man of his day * was languishing on a little paltry 
curacy in Warwickshire. This was Doctor Parr, whose name at th.< 
beginning of the century, little as it is now remembered where learn. 
ing and literature are in question, was held in undeniable respect bj 
the first scholars in Curope. Parr never indeed 'stood higher in esteem 
than at the time of the publication of Gebir, to the admiration of 
whose ardent writer he presented a threefold claim. To the skilled 
Latin student he was the author of the Pre/ace to BelUndenus ; to 
the eager politician he was the friend of Fox and Grey ; to the young 
adventurer in literature he had the charm of association with a greater 
Doctor Samuel, the chief of English men of letters, who had lately- 
passed away. " Sir," said Johnson to Bennet Langton, in one of 
those conversations which BoswelTs wonderful book had just then 
given to the world, " Parr is a fair man. I do not know when I have 
had an occasion of such free controversy." They had tajked upon 
the liberty of the press ; and Johnson, stamping unconsciously in the 
heat of the argument, had stopped suddenly on seeing Parr give a 
great stamp. "Why did you stamp, Doctor Parrl" he asked. 
" Sir," replied Parr, " because you stamped ; and I was resolved not 
to give you the advantage even of a stamp in the argument." This 
was good Johnsonian give-and-take, and would certainly not lower his 
namesake in Johnson's opinion ; but it must be added that the trick 
of stamping remained too much with the lesser Samuel, who also prac- 
tised afterwards pompous oracular ways, and dealt greatly in sonorous 
words, apparently derived from the same source. But, notwithstand- 
ing much pretentious and preposterous writing, what was most promi- 
nent in Parr's character was neither assumed nor commonplace. 
Johnson said it was a pity that such a man and such a scholar should 
be a Whig ; and, considering that with tho dispensers of church 
patronage in those days the most moderate forms of Whiggism were 
but other forms of Atheism, Deism, Socinianism, or any of the rest 
of the isms that to a clergyman meant infamy and poverty, a more 
judicious choice of opinions might undoubtedly have been made. 
But in his way Parr was quite as sincere a man as Johnson, and 
opinions were as little a matter of mere choosing to the one as to the 

* Porson was then dead. While he lived Parr would say, u The first Greek scholar 
is Porson, and the third Elmsley : I won't say who the second is." 

iET.22-3 -] DOCTOR PAWL 71 

Up to the time of the French Revolution Doctor Landor had him- 
self been a Whig, as all Warwickshire had reason to know ; for it 
ras he who brought forward Sir Robert Lawley and Mr. Ladbroke at 
the election which broke down Lord Warwick's predominance in the 
count v. But when the split in the party came, and Burke carried 
over the deserters from Fox, Doctor Landor cast in his lot with them; 
and became also Pitt's vehement supporter. His son Walter> on the 
other hand, went as far as he could in the opposite extreme ; and 
would doubtless have gone to the other side of England for the pleas- 
ure of greeting a friend of Mr. Fox so loud and uncompromising 
as Doctor Parr was at this time. As it was, he had to do little more 
than cross the threshold of his father's door. 

At Hatton (Heath-town), a retired village on an eminence near 
what was then a wide tract of heath, two or three miles from War- 
wick on the Birmingham Road, Parr had lived since 1783, when Lady 
Trafford presented him to its perpetual curacy. He was a poor man 
when he went there ; but when more prosperous days came to him he 
was too fond of the place to leave it, and there he died. At the 
small brick parsonage he built out a good-sized library, which he filled 
with books of which the printed catalogue is still consulted with in- 
terest by scholars ; and this became at last his dining-room also, 
where not seldom, at his frequent festivities, neither books nor friends 
were visible for the clouds of tobacco that rose and enveloped them 
from his morning, afternoon, and evening pipes. Sydney Smith says 
he had too much of his own way at these social parties, and would 
have been better for more knocking about among his equals ; but the 
same sentence that laughs at him for his airs of self-importance cele- 
brates not the less his copious and varied learning, the richness of his 
acquisitions, the vigor of his understanding, and above all the genuine 
goodness of his heart. Undue prominence was indeed given by two 
circumstances to the weak points in Parr's character : they were all 
upon the surface, and they were all of the quizzible kind. He had A 
quantity of foolish personal vanity ; a lisp made more absurd his 
pompous way of speaking ; and a corpulent figure set off disadvanta- 
geously his vagaries of dress. When he lost the Mastership of 
Harrow it was said that he went far completely to console himself b^ 
mounting that famous obumbrating wig, which, as Sydney said of it, 
swelled out behind into boundless convexity of frizz. But there is 
something not difficult to forgive in absurdities of this kind, when 
accompanied by unworldliness of nature ; and it is undoubtedly the 
case that Parr was at the bottom a very kindly and a very simple 
man. He could stand by those who had claims on his friendship, 
though all the rest of the world should fall from them ; and it is the 
remark of a keen and unsparing judge of men, William Taylor, of 
Norwich, in a comparison he makes between Parr and Mackintosh, 
that, whereas the latter inspired admiration rather than attachment, 
there was a lovingness about Parr and a susceptibility of affection that 

72 oebir; and earliest friendships, ES^LS 

gave bim an immense superiority.* The time when Landor fir-st 
knew Parr was that of Mackintosh's greatest intimacy with him ; axid 
of the characteristic traits of their intercourse still remembered there 
are few better than the remark made by Parr after a long argument* 
" Jemmy, I cannot talk you down ; but I can think you down, 
Jemmy." It expresses at the same time one of those weaknesses by 
which it so often came to pass that Parr's company was inferior to 
himself, and such as he could talk down only too easily. But, even 
with Mackintosh, he had not seldom the upper hand. " Formerly, ** 
wrote Landor in one of his latest letters to Southey,f " I used to 
meet Mackintosh rather frequently. I never knew that he was so 
stored and laden as you give me to believe. He was certainly very 
inaccurate, not only in Greek but in Latin. Once at breakfast with 
Parr in Cary Street, where I was and Hargrave and Jekyl, he used 
the word anabasis. Parr said, ' Very right, Jemmy ! very right ! it 
is anabasis with you, but anabasis with me and Walter Landor.' I 
was very much shocked and grieved ; indeed, to such a degree, that I 
felt indisposed to take any part in the conversation afterwards ; only 
saying (which was not quite, true) that I did not know it until then : 
which obtained me a punch of the elbow under the rib, and the inter- 
jection of lying dog I " 

Some of the points I have thus thought it fair to prefix to such 
mention of Landor's intercourse with Parr as will appear in these 
pages from time to time, receive also illustration, valuable because of 
personal knowledge, from one of Mr. Robert Landor's letters. He 
begins by speaking of a recent paper on Parr by Mr. De Quincey, 
published in the sixth volume of his collected works; and it is 
proper to remark that he writes with less sympathy for Parr's politi- 
cal opinions than for those of his critic. " If Mr. De Quincey had 
been desirous to show us how far it might be possible to convey the 
most false and injurious notions of a man in language which no one 
could contradict, which said nothing but the truth, he could hardly 
have succeeded better. What he has written is very true and very 
false ; but there are some old people, like myself, who may wish that 
the mixture had been less skilfully malicious, and a great deal more 
honest. There was some resemblance between the doctor and my 

* Among Landor's papers I found the following: — 

" From the old brown portfolio. Presented to Parr as an Epitaph, December 21, 1799. 

u Here lies our honest friend Sam Parr: 
A better man than most men are. 
So learned, he could well dispense 
Sometimes with merely common sense: 
So voluble, so eloquent. 
You little heeded what he meant: 
So generous, he could spare a word 
To throw at Warburton or Hurd: 

So loving, every village maid | 

Sought his caresses, though afraid*" 

t August, 1882. 

ST. 22-3G.] DOCTOR PARR. 73 

'rother. Never could there be a vainer man than the one, or a 
prouder man than the other : the comic part of the same selfish pas- 
son, and the tragic. Both demanded admiration, — the Doctor of 
Lis wig, his cassock, the silk frogs on his new coat ; Walter of his 
very questionable jests recommended by a loud laugh. Both were 
very delightful when in good humor, and dangerously offensive when 
displeased. Mr. De Quincey represents the Doctor as talking gross 
nonsense ; and so he often did. But then, at other times, his con- 
versation was the most eloquent and abundant in charming imagery 
that it has ever been my fortune to hear.* Both resented the slight- 
est appearance of disrespect : but Parr was much the most placable 
and willing to be reconciled. Mr. De Quincey should have recorded 
Lis warm-hearted sincerity in friendship, which hardly failed when 
friendship had become not only dangerous but discreditable. Per- 
haps you would have thought that my brother excelled in genius, 
imagination, power, and variety, when at his best, as much as Parr 
exceeded him in all kinds of acquired knowledge. There was the 
• same resemblance in the warmth of their love and hatred ; but Parr's 
love lasted the longest, and so did Walter's hatred. It would be im- 
possible to determine which of them hated one particular connection 
the most ; nor whether either had ever hated any one else so much. 
Beside the great difference in the age of these competitors (Walter 
was twenty-three at the publication of Gebir, and Parr fifty-one), and, 
at that time, of reputation, I think that they were kept from quarrels 
by mutual respect, by something like awe of each other's temper, 
and a knowledge that, if war began at all, it must be to the knife. 
* It would be great impertinence in me," Mr. Landor adds, " if any 
opinions were offered here on the Doctor's literary pretensions. But 
surely the pretensions of a writer and reasoner familiar, during many 
years, with Charles Fox, James Mackintosh, Bobus Smith, Richard 
Sharp, Samuel Rogers, and other distinguished people, could hardly 
have been so contemptible as it is now the fashion to suppose. I say 
this, though he once treated me more offensively than any one else 
ever did." 

The correspondence of Parr and Landor, while the latter was still 
at Oxford, has been mentioned in a preceding page ; t and such of 
Parr's later letters as I possess, with one or two of Landor's, though 
of not much moment in themselves and but a fragment of what 
passed between them, will show well enough, as I quote them from 
time to time in my memoir, the character of their intercourse. Gebir, 
as soon as published, found its way to Hatton, with a letter in which 
the writer told Parr that, however proud and presumptuous he might 
have shown himself in the effort he had made, he rather thought that 
during the time the Doctor was reading and examining it he should 
himself be undergoing much the same sensation as the unfortunate 

\ • This is entirely borne out by the account of William Taylor, of Norwich, 
t Axie, p. 25. 

74 oebib; and earliest friendships. 5S°^ 

*7&7- xS* 

Polydorus, while his tomb, new turfed and spruce and flourisiiixii 
was plucked for a sacrifice to iEneas. But the Doctor's weak poir 
was poetry ; his taste in that respect was " Bromwychian," as Lai 
dor described it to Southey ; and the poem awakened little interes 
in him till it appeared in its Latin form. Yet was he swift to reco^ 
nize a vigor and animation in his young friend's mode of writing 
whether verse or prose, which he knew to be out of the common a 
that time ; and with amusing eagerness he did his best to enlist bin 
on Fox's side in the strife of politics and papers then raging. 

The share that Coleridge and Sou they had in that memoral>l< 
strife is well known, and even Lloyd and Lamb were taking part wit I 

J their puns and pleasantries. They had, all of them, engagements 01 
the Courier or on the Morning Post; Dan Stewart, Mackintosh': 
brother-in-law, of whom Lamb has left a whimsical sketch, bein^ 
Magnus Apollo at the Post, and exercising at the Courier also not £ 
little of the influence which he handed over a few years later tc 
Coleridge. But very different was Landor's position from theirs, 
Those were days when Southey would often walk the street dinner- 
less at dinner-time, without a shilling in his pocket for the ordinary, 
or for bread and cheese at his lodgings ; when he and Coleridge were 
content with Dan Stewart's guinea a week ; and when he thought it 
" not amiss," as he tells his brother Tom, by eight months' contribut- 
ing to monthly magazines and reviews, to make as much as seven 
pounds and two pairs of breeches. Landor's bread and cheese and 
breeches were found for .him. He was not a hired soldier, but a 
volunteer ; and seems never to have sought acquaintance with the 
regular rank and file. His contributions, chiefly to the Courier, 
were in the form of letters with or without his name ; and though as 
fierce against Pitt and the war party as even Parr could desire, they 
had an awkward trick of .bolting out of the Fox preserves and run- 
ning after game that was more to the writer's liking. For a time, 
nevertheless, Parr appears to have kept him within bounds, by the 
help mainly of Fox's fidus Achates Robert Adair. 

Several of Adair's letters to Landor are before me, between the 
| dates of 1800 and 1806. They show what difficulty Parr had in bring- 
i ing them together ; what a shrewd opinion of Landor's possible value 
• in the press Adair formed at once ; how willing he was to overlook 
even such Anti-Whig heresies as Landor's dislike of William the de- 
liverer ; and what pains were taken to put so clever a fellow in the 
proper way. He and Adair would meet at Debrett's, in Piccadilly, 
and go down together to the House of Commons, " the most costly 
exhibition in Europe," as Landor amused Adair by calling it ; and 
ultimately it was so arranged that access to the reporters' gallery 
should generally be open to him. They were present together, 
among other occasions, at the stormy debate of that March night of 
1801 when Lord Castlereagh brought in his bill to prolong the act 
enabling the Lord-Lieutenant to put Ireland under martial law. 

iCT.22-30-] DOCTOR PARR. 75 

Landor meanwhile was busy with his pen against Pitt and the Minis- 
try. He would send letters for Adair's approval, seldom satisfied 
with them himself ; whereas Adair only admitted his right to under- 
value such compositions on the ground that rich men might be al- 
lowed to be prodigal, and to scatter about their liberalities without 
too severely reckoning up the amount of them. When Landor was 
absent from London, too, I find Adair making it his business to ex- 
amine back files of the Courier to see if a particular letter of his had 
been given ; writing to him that he considers its omission to be evi- 
dence of the degraded state of the English press; excepting Mr. 
Perry from this remark, as a man of inviolable honor ; and promising 
Landor better treatment at the Morning Chronicle, if he will but 
consent to contribute to that paper. 

Adair had some cause for his bitterness about the press, the Anti- 
Jacobin having singled him out for a succession of its most scurrilous 
jokes, and the ministerial papers ever since keeping up the merciless 
battery. He had in truth become a special mark for them by exactly 
\ such service to the other party as he was now trying to render in the 
instance of Landor ; his appearance in the reporters' gallery among 
the press-men, or his introduction of some new pamphleteer to Ridg* . 
way or Debrett, being frequent subjects of derision with Ellis, Frere, 
and Canning. 

" I whom, dear Fox, you condescend 
To call your honorable friend, 

Shall live for everlasting: 
The Stygian gallery I '11 quit 
Where printers crowd me as I sit 

age and fasting. 
Scotch, English, Irish Whigs shall read 

Half dead with rage and fastinj 

The pamphlets, letters, odes / breed, 

Charmed with each bright endeavor, — 
Alarmists tremble at my strain, 
E'en Pitt, made candid by champagne, 
Shall hail Adair the clever." 

The same laugh at his pretensions and taste in letters is in Canning's 
Counter-Epistle. • 

" Or art thou one, the party's flattered fool, 
Trained in Debrett's or Ridgway's civic school, 
Who sees nor taste nor genius in these times 
Save Parr's buzz prose — " 

and in his Oriental letter from " Bauba-Dara-Adul-Phoola, ,, the same 
unscrupulous wit, showing what scant accommodation might suffice 
for a brace of Whig bedfellows, again coupled Adair* and Parr. 

" There was great Dr. Parr, whom we style Bellendenus: 
The Doctor and I have a hammock between us." 

But this was the kind of thjng that in those days all had to expect 
who set themselves resolutely against the " drunken democracy of 
Mr. William Pitt, M as Landor not inaptly christened the Anti-Gallican 
frenzy. He had soon to encounter it in his own pepon. " The 

• M Bauba-Dara-Adul-Phcola " is of course " Bob Adair, a dull fool." 

76 gebir; and earliest friendships. SS^US: 


Anti-Jacobin? * he wrote to Parr, " has assailed me with much viru- 
lence, — I am a coward and a profligate. On the latter expression, 
as I know not the meaning of it, I shall be silent. The former is a 
j plain intelligible word ; and if I discover the person who has nxade 
this application of it, I will give him some documents that shall en- 
lighten his judgment at the expense of his skin. Could you imagine 
it % You also are mentioned with a proportionate share of insolence. 
Let them pass. Who would stop a cloud that overshadows his gar- 
den ? The cloud is transitory, the garden blooms. Thank God, I 
have a mind more alive to kindness than to contumely. The statue 
of Memnon is insensible to the sands that blow against it, but answers 
in a tender tone to the first touches of the sun. Come, come, let me 
descend from these clouds and this romance, at which you will laugn 
most heartily, and quote in my favor the example of Mr. Lemuel 
Gulliver who, when the Liliputians climbed and crept over him, for- 
bore that contention which a more equal or a more formidable enemv 
would have aroused" We have, nevertheless, now to show how weak 
was Mr. Gulliver's deterring example, and how little formidable after 
all was the enemy by whose censure the young poet could be moved 
to resentment and reply. 


At the 206th page of the thirty-first volume of the Monthly Review, 
published in 1800, will be found the following : — 


" An unpractised author has attempted, in this poem, the difficult task 
of relating a romantic story in blank verse. His performance betrays all 
the incorrectness and abruptness of inexperience, but it manifests occasion- 
ally some talent for description. He has fallen into the common error of 
those who aspire to the composition of blank verse, by borrowing too 
many phrases and epithets from our incomparable Milton. We must fur- 
ther observe that the storjr is told very obscurely, and should have been 
assisted by an Argument in prose. Young writers are often astonished to 
find that passages, which seem very clear to their own heated imagina- 
tions, appear very dark to their readers. The author of the poem before 
us may produce something worthy of more approbation, if he will labor 
hard, and delay for a few years the publication of his next performance." 

Exactly so. An ordinary reviewer cannot help this sort of thing 
when an original book falls in his way ; and Landor, who had pro- 
fessed his readiness to be content with less than a dozen admirers if 
they were but of the worthiest, might very well have smiled at this 
harmless review. Not small, indeed, was his amusement in later 

* This was not Canning's Anti-Jacobin and Weekly Examiner, but its successor, the 
Anti-Jacobin Review and Mapamne: the same that libelled Southev, Coleridge, Lloyd, 
and Lamb, in %e " toad-and-frog " caricature, and which is generally confounded with 
its hardly more respectable parent and predecessor. 


years at precisely such critical effusions ; when he would picture him- 
self watching the appearance of a first-rate book as the rarest of all 
occurrences, and laugh at ordinary people's ways in slowly rising up 
to the unaccustomed visitor. They were like nothing so much, he 
said, as carp in a pond when food is thrown in : some snatching 
suddenly at a morsel and swallowing it ; others with their barb gently 
touching it and passing it by ; others more disdainfully wriggling and 
rubbing against it ; and others, in sober truth, such as our friend 
here of the Monthly, in a genuine and puzzled ignorance what to 
make of it, " swimming round and round it, eying it on the •sunny 
side, eying it on the shady, approaching it, questioning it, shoulder- 
ing it, flapping it with the tail, turning it dver, looking askance at it, 
taking a pea-shell or a worm instead of it, and plunging again their 
heads into the comfortable mud." 

In his own comfortable mud, however, the reviewer was not to be 
left on this particular occasion. Landor resolved to drag him forth 
and punish him, and with this view planned a Prose Postscript to 
Gebir. This was a wonderful production of its kind : impressed with 
character, impetuous, scornful, eloquent, confident ; sparkling with 
turns of wit and with bright fancies ; critical in Greek and Latin, and 
replete with other scholarship, particularly of good old English : but 
withal so personal, and so vehemently as well as (if it must be said) 
coarsely wrong in many ways, that for Landor it must be esteemed a 
fortunate occurrence that before the final step was taken with it a 
friendly judgment should have interposed. It was suppressed ; but, 
finding it among his papers, I shall not hesitate to give such portions 
of it here as may now with propriety be preserved Some touches in 
it personal to himself are full of value ; and it is remarkable for the 
complete promise it gives thus early of what was ultimately to place 
him in so high a rank among writers of English prose. 

He preaches from a peaceful text, as men bent upon war are apt to 
do, prefixing a sentence from one of the letters of Linnceus to Grono- 
vius: "ISgo potius tranquille vivere desidero quam ab adversariis 
victorias et troptea reportare " : the adversaries from whom, after this 
self-denying ordinance, he straightway proceeds to pluck their trophies 
and victories, being it should be premised not alone the Monthly 
Reviewers, and prominently among them a certain Mr. Pybus who 
had dabbled in verse and was supposed to have written the offending 
notice, but also the Anti-Jacobins and their allies, including Mr. Isaac 
D' Israeli who was just then coming up, Mr. Mathias of surprisingly 
absurd reputation, and some others. 

The Anti-Jacobins and the general character of their literature were 
well sketched at the opening. " Gebir in different quarters," he says, 
" has been differently received. I allude not to those loyal critics, 
who, recently mounted on their city war-horse, having borrowed the 
portly boots and refurbished the full-bottomed perukes of the ancient 
French chevaliers, are foremost to oppose the return of that traitor, 

78 gbbib; and earliest friendships. SS^S 

whom while he was amongst them Englishmen called Freedom, but 
now they have expelled him, Anarchy : since the very first Reviews 
of this association were instituted, not merely for parade, but for 
hostility; not for exercise, correctness, and precision, but, so adven- 
turous and impetuous were the conscripts, for actual and immediate 

To the Critical and Monthly, as being of the old establishment, lie 
passes next, and refers gratefully to the notice by Southey, ignorant 
still of his name. " In respect to Gebir the one is perhaps conducted 
by a partial, but certainly by a masterly hand. It objects, and indeed 
with reason, to a temporary and local obscurity, which I have not 
been able, or I have not been willing, or I have not been bold enough, 
to remove : but never on the whole, since its first institution, has a 
poem been more warmly praised." Turning then to the Monthly, he 
describes it as consisting of two misstatements : " that the poem was 
nothing more than the version of an Arabic tale ; and that the 
author, not content with borrowing the expressions, had made the 
most awkward attempts to imitate the phraseology of Milton." To 
which he replies, that there is not a single sentence in the poem nor 
a single sentiment in common with the Arabian tale. Some charac- 
ters were drawn more at large, some were brought out more promi- 
nently, and several were added. He had not changed the scene, 
which would have distorted the piece ; but every line of appropriate 
description, and every shade of peculiar manners, were originally and 
entirely his own. Thus, whether "this gentleman" had read the 
poem or not, and whether he had read the romance or not, his 
account equally was false and malicious. " For the romance is in 
English, therefore he could have read it ; the poem is in English, and 
therefore he could have compared it. There is no disgrace in omit- 
ting to read them : the disgrace is, either in pretending to have done 
what he had not done, or in assuming a part which he was incompe- 
tent to support." 

And there was a further and worse disgrace, which Landor ingen- 
iously fixes on his reviewer as an inference from the charge against 
himself of having borrowed Milton's epithets and phrases. " There is 
a disgrace in omitting to read Milton ; there is a disgrace in forget- 
ting him." Thus early had taken root in his mind that profound 
veneration for the most majestic of English poets which steadily 
attended him without abatement to the close of life, and which, as it 
rises or falls in England, may be taken as no indifferent or inexact 
measure of value as well in poetry as in the taste for it. How could 
this critic possibly have read or remembered Milton, says Landor, 
when he accuses me of borrowing his expressions ? "I challenge him 
to produce them. If indeed I had borrowed them, so little should I 
have realized by the dangerous and wild speculation, that I might 
have composed a better poem and not have been a better poet But 
I feared to break open, for the supply of my games or for the main- 


icoance of my veteran heroes, the sacred treasury of the great repub- 
lican." Well, but if you had, some one still might ask, where would 
have been the crime or the harm ; and why assail this critic, who 
may be paying you a compliment after all 1 Yes, rejoins Landor, if 
mj vanity could stoop so low and live on so little ; but I have to 
add, " for the information of my young opponent, what a more care- 
ful man would conceal, and what in his present distress will relieve 
turn greatly, that this, which among the vulgar and thoughtless 
might currently pass for praise, is really none at all. For the lan- 
guage of Paradise Lost ought not to be the language of Gebir. There 
should be the softened air of remote antiquity, not the severe air of 
unapproachable sanctity. I devoutly offer up my incense at the 
shrine of Milton. Woe betide the intruder that would steal its 
jewels ! It requires no miracle to detect the sacrilege. The crime 
Till be found its punishment. The venerable saints, and still more 
holy personages, of Raphael or Michael Angelo, might as consistently 
be placed among the Bacchanals and Satyrs, bestriding the goats and 
bearing the vases of Poussin, as the resemblance of that poem, or any 
of its component parts, could be introduced in mine." Nothing could 
he better said than that. 

Full of character, too, are the sentences that follow, showing the 
writer at the outset of his life just as he was to its close. With an 
amusing self-consciousness and confidence which he would be a poor 
observer who should describe as vanity, he calmly tells his reviewer 
W it was that such review-writers as he is cannot help the dull mis- 
takes they make, and winds up his lesson with an offer exactly pre- 
figuring that with which he startled the reviewing world twenty-five 
years later, when he promised a hot penny-roll and a pint of stout for 
breakfast to any critic who could show himself capable of writing a 
dialogue equal to the worst of his Imaginary Conversations.* 

" I have avoided high-sounding words. I have attempted to throw back 
the gross materials, and to bring the figures forward. 1 knew beforehand 
the blame that I should incur. I knew that people would cry out : * Your 
burden was so light, we could hardly hear you breathe ; pray where is your 
merit ? ' For there are few who seem thoroughly acquainted with this plain 
and simple truth, that it is easier to elevate the empty than to support the 
fall I also knew the body of my wine, -and that years must pass over it 
before it would reach its relish. Some will think me intoxicated, and most 
Jill misconstrue my good-nature, if I invite the Reviewer, or any other 
frumd that he will introduce, — but himself the most earnestly, as I suspect 
from hia manner that he poetizes, — to an amicable trial of skill. I will 
subject myself to any penalty, either of writing or of ceasing to write, if the 

Eyen when writing hi* boyish " Moral Epistle," there was the same amusing self- 
f^nfideiice; some capital couplets at the close of that satire, in which the patriots Par- 
. m ^ Shippen are celebrated, closing with a promise to them that each should be 
portal; but that if any accident should prevent it, they were nevertheless to lie 
^aqnil in their tombs and say: — 

" Ye Powers 
Of Darkness ! it is Laxdob's fault, not ours I " 

80 gebir: and earliest friendships. 52°^J! 

author, who criticises with the flightiness of a poet> will assume that charac- 
ter at once, and taking in series my twenty worst verses, write better an 
equal number in the period of twenty years. I shall be rejoiced if he will 
open to me any poems of my contemporaries, of my English contemporaries 
I mean, and point out three pages more spirited, I will venture to add 
- more classical, than the three least happy and least accurate in Gebir" 

Well : shall we be angry at this 1 There is a remark of Doctor 
Johnson's on the most affecting of Shakespeare's plays, — where he 
says the characters of that poet, however distressed, have always a 
conceit left them in their misery, " a miserable conceit," — which has 
probably suggested to many a humane reader that if a conceit should 
be all that is left to poor misery, it might be hard at least to grudge 
it that. One would in like manner say, that if a poet distressed by 
want of readers should comfort his loneliness with a trifle of self- 
praise, it can be hardly worth while to punish him for it. Vanity in 
the vulgar sense, bred of abundance of worshippers and of the fumes 
of perpetual incense, it undoubtedly is not ; and with a somewhat 
touching sense of what it really is, Landor follows up the remark just 
quoted :. pleading with simplicity the precedent of contenders for a 
prize in old Greek days, and saying that if others would have spoken 
for him, he should himself have been silent. He describes the cir- 
cumstances and way in which Gebir was written, and refers to the 
earlier poems published by him on leaving Oxford. The passage has 
the interest of autobiography, and all of it is worth preservation. 

" Many will think that I should have suppressed what I have said ; but 

let them recollect that among those ancient poets who contended for the 

public prize, each must not only have formed the same determination (for 

defects are not usually compared with defects, but are generally contrasted 

with beauties), but have actually engaged, and that too more openly and 

personally, in a still more strenuous competition. If my rights had not been 

refused me, I should not have asserted my claims. Rambling by the side of 

the sea, or resting on the top of a mountain, and interlining with verses 

the letters of my friends, I sometimes thought how a Grecian would have 

written, but never what methods he would take to compass popularity. 

The nearer I approached him, though distant still, the more I was delighted. 

I may add, 

1 belle agH occhj miei tende latine I 
Aura apira da voi che mi ricrea, 
E mi conforta pur che m'awicine ' 

Tasso, Genu. Uberatcu 

Several of these sketches were obliterated, still more laid aside and lost ; 
various ideas I permitted to pass away, unwilling to disturb by the slightest 
action the dreams of reposing fancy. So little was I anxious to publish 
my rhapsodies, that I never sat down in the house an hour at once for the 
purpose of composition. Instead of making, or inviting, courtship, I de- 
clared with how little I should rest contented. Far from soliciting the atten- 
tion of those wjio are passing by, Gebir is confined, I believe, to the shop of 
one bookseller, and I never heard that he had even made his appearance at 
the window. I understand not the management of those matters, but I find 
that the writing of a book is the least that an author has to do. My ex- 


^rience has not been great : and the caution which it has taught me lies 
eatirely on the other side of publication. Before I was twenty years of 
:re I bad imprudently sent into the world a volume * of which I was soon 
v-Wned. It everywhere met with as much commendation as was proper, 
scd generally more. For, though the structure was feeble, the lines were 
Lntni : the rhymes showed habitual ease, and the personifications fashion- 
~le taste. I suffered any of my heroes, the greater part of whom were 
of a gentle kind, to look on one side through the eye. of Pity, on the other 
through that of Love ; and it was with great delight, for I could not fore- 
fee the consequences, that I heard them speak or sing with the lips of 
soft Persuasion. So early in life I had not discovered ttye error into which 
we were drawn by the Wartons. I was then in raptures with what I now 
<k?pi*e. I am far from the expectation, or the hdpe, that these deciduous 
fihoou will be supported by the ivy of my maturer years." 

Then succeed passages not less calling for suppression now than 
when originally written ; but connected with others in which the style 
of reviewing then prevalent, and not excused by any special capacity 
in the reviewers, is condemned too characteristically not to be worth 
preservation. For, though wit and invective are here also used un- 
sparingly, what is said to the critic on the author's behalf is a thing 
not too often remembered, and very often much needed to be said. 
Certainly the best critic will be least disposed to object to it. The 
remarks are introduced by an apology for the haste and incorrectness 
with which Gebir had been printed. 

"Still there was nothing to authorize the impertinence with which the 
t publication was treated by the Monthly reviewer. These are not the 
knits which he complains of; though these might, without his conscious- 
ness, have first occasioned his ill-humor. I pity his want of abilities, and I 
pardon his excess of insolence. The merit is by no means small of a critic 
who speaks with modesty. For his time being chiefly occupied, at first, in 
works fundamentally critical, at least if we suppose him desirous to learn 
before he is ambitious to teach, he thinks, when he has attained their ex- 
pressions and brevity, he has attained their solidity and profoundness. He 
^ujtt surely be above what he measures, else how can he measure with 
exactness ? He must be greater ex officio than the person he brings before 
™; else how can he stigmatize with censure, or even dismiss with 

But how if he should not be all this, nor have learned anything 
before he began to teach everything ? How if it should suffice him, 
'^sect-like, to enclose in his flimsy web what he would be hopeless of 
^hing in its flight 1 How if his production, too, should be only 
After the kind of the miserable insect, a month in generating, a mo- 
ment in existence 1 

Miserable do I call them ? Alas for the wise and virtuous ; alas for 
_&inan nature I Though Justice, in descending on the world again, has 
^ n it a partial revolution, so that so/ine who were in sunshine are in 

8na de, — some of the highest and most prominent, — yet, when I cast my 


* See ante, p. 85. 


82 gebir; and earliest friendships. i^^a^ 

eyes immediately around me, and can discern what passes both in public an< 
in private, I find too often that those are the least miserable who occasioi 
the most misery. For, when any one has done an injury, the power thai 
enabled him to do it comes back upon the mind, and fills it with such a com 
placency as smooths away all the contrition that the action of this injury 
would have left. And little power is requisite to work much mischief." 

Some personal applications follow, rounded off by a passage where 
the wit and eloquence are at least as conspicuous as the bitterness. 

u Flies and reviewers fill their bellies while they irritate. Both of them 
are easily crushed, but neither of them easily caught They lead pleasant 
lives in their season. The authors who can come into a share of a monthly 
publication are happy as playwrights who manage a theatre, or as debtors 
who purchase a seat in our excellent House of Commons. 

4 They in what shape they choose, 
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, 
Can execute their airy purposes, 
And works of love or enmity fulfil.* 

They hunt over domains more extensive than their own ; trample down 
fences which they cannot clear; strip off the buds and tear away the 
branches of all the most promising young trees that happen to grow in 
their road ; plough up the lawns ; muddy the waters ; and when they re- 
turn benighted home again, carouse on reciprocal flattery. Men of genius, 
on the contrary, may be compared to those druidical monuments, stately 
and solitary, reared amidst barrenness, exposed to all weather, unimpaired, 
unaltered, which a child perhaps may move, but which not a giant can 
take down." 

The manuscript closes with a comment on the reviewer's charge of 
" borrowing," interesting for its evidence of Landor's literary reading 
thus early. Particularly should evidence and instances be adduced, 
he remarks, where accusations of plagiarism are preferred ; for the gen- 
eral charge can be almost always made excuse for ignorance and malice. 
"Plagiarism, imitation, and allusion, three shades that soften from 
blackness into beauty, are by the glaring eye of the malevolent 
blended into one." Yet how different they are, he has as little diffi- 
culty in showing as in demonstrating the Spartan character of even 
the blackest of the three. You are punished, not because you 
steal, but because you are detected, through want of spirit and ad- 
dress in carrying off your booty. Some of his illustrations are excel- 
lent, and were new to me. 

In connection with the passage from Montaigne, for example, 
which represents the goose arguing after his fashion : " All the parts 
of the universe I have an interest in : I have advantage by the winds, 
and convenience by the waters : the earth serves me to walk upon, 
the sun to light me, the sky to cover me : I am the darling of 
nature; and is it not man that treats, lodges, and serves me?"* 

* The passage is in the 12th chapter of the 2d book of the Essays, and will be found 
in Cotton, IL 848. 


— he places two couplets by Pope, taken from the first and* the 

third epistle of the Essay on Man : the art of the plagiarism con- 

Esting in the different application made of the several parts of the 


M Seas roll to waft me, rans to light me rise, 
My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.'* 

" While man exclaims, ' See all things for my use ' i 
1 See man for mine,' replies a pampered goose." 

Beside the famous lines on Addison, too, — 

u Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, 
And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer," — 

he places this capital passage out of a personification of Envy, from 
"a poet seldom read, though of a vigorous mind and lively imagina- 
tion," as he justly characterizes Phineas Fletcher : — 

"When needs he must, yet faintly then he praises, 
Somewhat the deed, but more the means, ne raises; 
So marreth what he makes, and praising most dispraises"; 

drawing from it the remark that if Pope had scrupled to apply to his 
own use the colors thus prepared by Fletcher, he might have failed 
in the exquisite perfection of his satire ; and appending this further 
reflection, that the lines which had done nothing for Fletcher's fame 
had thus very materially helped the later poet to his happiest piece, 
"in a department of writing where he adds the observation of Donne 
to the vivacity of Ariosto, and gives to the sword of Juvenal the 
point of Boileau." 

In a spirit not less fair or discriminating he proceeds to say of 
Addison, in his double character of essayist and poet, that even in 
the former, where indeed he is perfectly at home, there is often more 
to commend in the* cleanliness of his dishes than in the flavor of his 
meat. " His success, like that of most men, is the result of keeping 
vithin the scope of his abilities. He had wit, yet he never could 
nave been a Moliere; and he was penetrating in inquiry and 
skilful in argument, yet he never could have been a Beccaria. He is 
sool and dispassionate ; he is therefore a good observer and a bad 
poet : but there is something, it must be acknowledged, inexpressibly 
charming in the manner of his narration. There is the slyness of 
Cupid and the sweetness of the Graces. " Times there were also, 
Undor seems to have thought, when there was the slyness without 
the attractiveness. He takes Pope's side in their quarrel ; and ex- 
presses surprise that while Boileau was attacking, in Quinault and 
others, men of more lively fancy than his own, Pope should so often 
nave been content to place himself lower than Addison. But this 
rcnimds him again of his own Monthly and Anti-Jacobin assailants, 
*nd that the fashion of Pope's day had mightily altered since. 

u The French and we still change; hut here 's the corse, 
They change for better, and we change for worse." 

84 gebir; and earliest friendships. . Sw^Jj 

Abroad, continues Landor, poets and men of letters support evei 
each other's imbecility by mutual embraces, while we waste oar littli 
strength in personal animosities. These remarks are excellent : — 

" In France and Germany men of talents are received with cordiality hy 
their brethren. In England, if their brethren look upon them, it is with i] 
grudging eye ; as upon those no otherwise connected with them than t*i 
share their fortune. There, it is thought that genius and wit enhance tli€ 
national glory. In England, it is the acquisition of sugar and slaves. . . , 
Yet in England too, if we look a century back, we shall find that poctnd 
in particular, while it was current, rose marvellously above its level. In 
contemporary authors we still read the praises of Parnell, of Mallet, of! 
Ambrose Phillips, and of many others inferior even to those ; and JohnH 
son has written the Lives of several whose productions would hardly grain 
admittance in the corner of a provincial newspaper. Even the biographer 
himself, who, whatever may have been his taste, is too weighty to be 
easily reprehended, seems often to rest with the greatest complacency on 
poets the most inelegant and feeble ; and one might think that, in his esti- 
mation, Collins and Gray are no higher than Addison and Pomfretw" 

In all this the just feeling is not more apparent than the correct 

But there is little more to praise. I will take only another sen- 
tence occurring towards the close, and which probably led to the 
suppression of what had been written with so much wise pains and 
foolish anger. After attacking Mr. Mathias and (with no very 
evident reason) Mr. D'Israeli, he speaks of the latter as claiming to 
be descended from an Italian family, and adds : " He is one of the 
children of Israel nevertheless, as is also announced by the name.* 
I mark this circumstance not by way of reproach, for in the number 
of my acquaintance there is none more valuable, there is not one 
more lively, more inquiring, more regular ; there is not one more vir- 
tuous, more beneficent, more liberal, more tender in heart or more 
true in friendship, than my friend Mocatta, — he also is a Jew." It 
was on this being shown to Mr. Mocatta that he desired to read the 
whole, and the result was his successful appeal to Landor that it 
should be entirely suppressed. In such passages as I have now 
quoted it first sees the light, 
f A letter of Mr. Isaac Mocatta's may be added, which, besides its 
1 allusion to these matters, shows that already Landor was meditating 
a tragedy for the stage, and his friend had the sense to warn him, that, 
even if he got so far as the theatre door, the chamberlain would be 

• The writings of Mr. D'Israeli seem to me always deserving of respect; and he 
valued, as well as did what he could to raise, the literary character. But some of hi* 
critical opinions had amazed Landor, who reprehends Kim also amusingly for his too 
great familiarity with learned men, as where he calls the great French printer Henry 
Stephens. " Here let me inform this gentleman that though Scholars have sometime 
taken this liberty, it is not allowed to other folks. He might as well call Cicero J>fcA, 
and Fabius Maximus Broad Bean. Either Henri Etienne, which was his name, or 
Henricus Stephanus, as he wrote it in Latin, is the proper term. We cannot suppose 
that, coming over to England, he would have called himself Henry Stephens." 

.£7. 22 -3°J SERGEANT BOUGH. 85 

wire to turn his key upon him. He dates from St. Thomas's Square, 
Hackney, on the 5th December, 1800. 

u Dear Landor, — I cannot a moment delay (notwithstanding I feel much 
indisposed) to express how kindly I take your resolution of suppressing 
\nt Postscript to Gebir which gave me so much pain. In so doing you have 
raid me a compliment which 1 know how to value. Since my lust, I have 
p ven your work a perusal which I do not intend shall be the last ; for, • 
like a scientific piece of music, it will probably gain by repetition. It ap- 
j-iars to me, however, more likely to please highly some few than to be 
^aerally tasted. The typographic errors are at least as numerous as you 
Mention ; but I did not include in them where/or, which, if you recollect, 
I stated as a peculiarity. Though I had never thought on the subject be- 
foi.\ it immediately struck me as proper, * wherefor ' being only by elision 
'where is the reason or motive for.' Most undoubtedly a tragedy replete 
with sentiments such as you could not help to infuse, would not be re- 
eved by the manager or sanctioned by the Lord Chamberlain ; so that I 
much wish you could hit on some other plan more lucid and better brought 
u-jt than you have hitherto produced. For I honestly think your talents 
e<jual to the greatest undertaking ; but I dread that impetuosity which dis- 
dains those minor niceties of language which are yet necessary to show 
▼here the narrative stands and what is % going on. Are you not too pro- 
found and classical for most readers ? I think I discover that your imagi- . 
nation has been warmed in more than one instance by Painting. By the 1 
V«y. do not construe my approbation to extend to your encomiums on pride 
and revenge. Adieu. Yours, Is. Mocatta." 


Unhappily Landor soon lost the advantage of so wise a friend as 
Isaac Mocatta, his illness proving fatal in the following year ; but an 
extract from one of his earlier letters may be added, as it touches 
another subject of difference between them. " I thank you," Mocatta 
had written in July, 1800, " for sparing me the triumph of Buona- 
parte's laurels. Had the event been as decisively the other way, I 
aia afraid I could not have refrained from teasing you a Uttle. The 
Cwsicon boy has certainly proved himself a man. May he crown his 
victories by dictating a moderate Peace ! I assure you, if I feel for 
the disappointment of the country I do not for that of Mr. Pitt. I 
was reading lately Plutarch's essay on the .character of Alexander, 
arguing that fortune was his enemy instead of Mend, and that his 
successes were but equal to his merit. Some of his reasoning I felt 
as a silent reproof of my own condemnation of Buonaparte. " The 
time was, nevertheless, approaching when the occasion for reproof 
*as reversed, and it was Landor who condemned the ambition and 
e *ecrated the successes of Napoleon. 

In July ? 1801, Mr. Jacob Mocatta announced his brother's death to 
kmdor, to whom had been bequeathed some books from his library 
Vttaong them a rare Sophocles) and a Prometheus in ancient sculp- 
ture, which, with his usual vehement appreciation for a friend's gift, 


86 gebir; and earliest friendships. SS^IaLj 

Landor declared to be by Phidias, and which is now the property ol 
his brother Henry. " I never knew a better or wiser man, or om 
more friendly/ 1 is his indorsement of the letter that told him of tin 
death and the bequest. Mocatta had just lived long enough to &e< 
the Peace which he had hoped might be a temperate one, and whicl 
proved to be the one of which everybody was glad and nobody 

Landor received Mr. Jacob Mocatta's letter when lodging at Ox 
ford, where his brother Robert was now in residence ; and the greater 
part of this year was passed between Oxford and London, where the 
peace and Aldington's ministry furnished occupation for everybody. 
One other affair, however, Landor had found also time to take in 
hand, and there is allusion to it in a letter of the following year to 
his brother Henry. " This time year, too, I was to have been mar- 
ried " (he is referring to the recent marriage of Rough). " But, after 
committing a piece of foolery in which I was the puppet, the farce 
concluded. But what can it signify 1 I can only be sixty thousand 
pounds the poorer," — the peculiarity of such expressions in his case 
being, that they import nothing which in conduct he is careful to 
contradict, but may in general be taken not unfairly as the measure 
of what he did as well as said. No man whom I have ever known of 
intellect approaching to his could so recklessly rush into the gravest 
enterprises, or so carelessly make escape from them. 

With Rough he was now very intimate, and something must be 
said of their friendship. When Landor first knew him he had just 
left college, and in a fit of admiration for Gebir had written in the 
manner of it a tragedy on the Conspiracy of Gowrie which was about 
as like Landor as Mr. Rowe's imitation was like Shakespeare. When 
I first heard his name, his poem was extinct ; but its author was re- 
membered as one of three notorious radicals of the Midland circuit, 
Copley and Denman being the other two, of whom it was proposed 
by old Clarke, also of the Midland, that the whole three should be 
hung up as republicans to the sign-post of their circuit inn with 
Copley in the centre as the greatest malefactor of the three. Both 
literature and politics, therefore, recommended Rough to Landor. 

Copley was a little his junior ; but they had been at Cambridge 
together, were member? of the same inn of court, chose the same 
circuit, and for some time were inseparable. But Rough's ambition, 
more limited in one direction than his friend's, took in a greater 
variety of objects, and had a more generous though a weaker side. 
What so many inferior people discover in the desire to attach them- 
selves to the wealthy and noble, this young lawyer displayed in his 
eagerness to become acquainted with men distinguished by their 
literature ; and though his life had many failures, his persistent love 
of men of learning and letters is not to be accounted one of them. 
" He became familiar," says Mr. Robert Landor, " with the lake 
poets, especially with Southey ; and with many of the younger peo- 

£T. 22-30.] SERGEANT BOUGH. 87 

pie before the age of Scott, Byron, and Shelley. He was an intense 
admirer of Walter's Gebir, and I think that Walter and Southey be- 
came ultimately acquainted through him. Before then he had pub- / 
lished a tragedy called Hie Conspiracy of Gowrie. My brother repaid J 
bis admiration ; for in such duties he was never ungrateful Hence 
their very ardent friendship j but Rough was still more familiar with 
my brother Henry, who was then resident in London. When called 
to the bar, Mr. Rough selected the Midland circuit ; and about the 
same time Henry was established at Warwick as a conveyancer, which 
profession he exchanged for that of a land agent to some very large 

Of the few of Rough's letters that Landor kept, the first is of the 
date of 1801, and explains a delay in replying to one of Landor's by 
showing that the answer had gone to Oxford, missed him there, and 
come back to London. With anxious care he explains these crosses, 
and very eagerly prays his friend to believe that very few things 
would vex him more than the loss of the friendship Landor had once 
encouraged him to hope would be extended to him. 

" From letters and the pursuits of imagination I have, since I saw you, 

been widely sundered. A few law books have been my sole companions : 

and naturally not endowed with much animation.1 from long habit am now 

UHftfo hebetior. For your * lampoon ' on Lord Warwick I thank you, and 

was not a little diverted by it. In truth, however, I am displeased with 

with you for courting the least pleasing" of the Nine, when so many others 

of the beauteous sisters would be gratified by your suit. He who retains 

in his cabinet shells gathered from the Sun's palace-porch should not defile 

tis collection with dirty funguses. I am running on, however, with the 

confidence of a man forgiven, forgetful that my pardon is not yet assured to 

Bis next letter, consisting wholly of expressions of delight at a com- 
munication from Landor, and making return in kind for friendly 
Win verses, we may assume the completeness of the pardon ; and 
one of his confessed reasons for choosing the Midland circuit a few 
months later was the hope of thereby meeting his friend from time 
to time in Warwickshire. The letter that announced this purpose 
*as written early in 1802. 

'I have chosen the Midland circuit ^s that which professionally is as 
likely to be serviceable as any other; and as* I am not very sanguine of 
expectation on the score of interest, I sblaeed myself by raising enchanted 
yisions of Friendship and Literature. With these floating across my brain, 
1 called on vour brother Henry, who tells me that he fears you will before 
we 23d of March have quitted Warwickshire. Now, my dear Landor, if 
you wish me not to be utterly discomfited, contrive to remain there a few 
days longer than you at present intend, and let me at least have one hour 
°* Poetry and Imagination during my grave and wearv pilgrimage. Seri- 
oas 'y, I shall be sorry not to see you. I am likely to have a sort of prefa- 
tory and introductory letter to a Dr. Lambe, who is represented to me to be 
a man on many accounts most worth knowing. Your brother says you 

88 gebir; and earliest friendships. SS^J 

have a friend of that name. If it be so, I shall assuredly not reject the open 
ing. In the mean while if you have any select companions indicted for rap 
ornorse-stealing, I shall be happy on your account to exert myself profession; 
ally in their behalf. God be with you, and teach you to deem me ever youj 
obliged and sincere friend, W. Rough. I have done nothing of late bu| 
write an indifferent prologue for Lewis's tragedy. And you too are idle f : 


Better be idle than writing lampoons; and that Landor more 
recently had neither been wholly unoccupied, nor occupied bo badly, 
will appear at the proper time. On this first of Bough's circuits the 
friends did not meet ; but the busy lawyer had a warm greeting from 
the Landor family, and found that what had been told him of Doctor 
Lambe was true.. This young physician had succeeded to the prac- 
tice of Doctor Landor on his retirement ; for him and his pretty wife 
Landor himself had a strong liking ; and in his friend's letter imme- 
diately after the circuit they found very cordial mention. 

" I was much, very much, pleased with my reception at Warwick. You 
know, I suppose, that Lambe and myself dined at Parr's, and that he was 
very communicative and good-humored. Except that (as men of his ape 
and character are apt to think) he seemed to suppose young men less read 
than they are now usually found to be, he showed not one false sentiment 
From your own familv I received more attention than in any way I could 
have expected ; and I had enough talk with Lambe to assure myself that 
he was no ordinary man. His wife, as you say, is an angel. All indeed 
was fairer than my hopes, and I say this without a single fee. I regret that 
I shall not see you in town. Is there, think you, a probability of my find- 
ing you at Warwick in July ? I trust there is." 

One other acquaintance was then also made by Bough ; a further 
acquisition of that first circuit, though not mentioned in this letter, 
which especially claims to be mentioned here. The reader owes to it 
a delightful sketch of the young lawyer himself, taken by a keen yet 
kindly observer, at this opening of his career. 

" Rough learnt from our family," writes Mr. Robert Landor to me, 
" on his first visit to Warwick, that there was another brother resi- 
dent in Oxford ; and on his way back to town he paid me a visit too, 
quite unexpectedly. In more than sixty years which have passed 
since then, I have never met with any one who had so little reserve. 
In about an hour I had become acquainted with all his prospects, 
literary and professional ; and in this first circuit he had taken the 
measure of all his future competitors. At no time was he arrogant 
or contemptuous ; but, giving ample credit to the pretensions of other 
people, he did equal justice to his own. In addition to the honor 
which he conferred upon so young a man, I felt delighted with so 
much frankness, good-humor, and joyous familiarity. I again met 
him on his second circuit at Warwick, accompanied by Mr. Coplej : 
both of them dined with my brother Henry. Walter was not there. 
Rough assumed the superiority which his greater standing and expe- 
rience had given him ; for he had received a brief that very morning. 

ST. 22-30.] SERGEANT ROUGH. 89 

He promised his future countenance to Copley as his junior, and Cop- 
lev undertook to prepare himself for the favor by ascertaining the 
distinction between a drake and a duck. It seemed that Rough had 
opened the prosecution of a thief who had stolen a drake ; and Rough 
persisted in describing the bird as a duck. Corrected again and 
a^ain, he repeated the word ' duck ' in court ; and after dinner he 
maintained that there was no difference. Copley said that there was 
the same difference as between a bull and a cow ; the bull and the 
drake being the husbands of the cow and the duck ; and also, that if 
any thief had stolen a bull, the animal must be so described., and not 
as a cow. I would have spared you this silliness, if it had not been 
characteristic both of Rough's habits and of his future fortune. 
Many years after these jests, I became acquainted, at Tenby, with an 
elderly solicitor of high professional character who was personally 
also familiar with Rough. He mentioned that the two friends had 
recently obtained promotion, and regretted that one of them had 
hazarded a small practice by becoming Mr. Sergeant Rough. Both 
gained the same rank at nearly the same time. My informant said 
that Copley was quite safe ; but that Rough was so careless and 
slovenly in his practice that the conduct of any important case could 
not be intrusted to him. I had left Warwickshire, and had seen him 
but two or three times* since my departure. My brother Henry 
always described him as not less happy and hopeful, — with so many 
plans, literary and professional, that he began none of them. He was 
so busy that he did nothing." * 

Mr. Landor adds a remark upon the sudden and early close of 
Bough's intimacy with his brother, so ardent while it lasted, which I 
do not feel entitled to omit. To a great degree in all men the ear- 
lier and the later years explain each other ; and what is here said of 
a point of character which time and experience corrected, but failed 
to the very last to remove, will suggest needful allowance for what is 
to be Baid hereafter. 

" Rough's intercourse with Walter lasted only three or four years. 
It was ended by some unintentional offence similar to that by Dr. 
Winthrop at Parr's. Either Rough had smiled at a false argument, 
or interrupted my brother in some other way, before several guests, 
▼hereupon Walter left his house and renounced his acquaintance. 
Tour intercourse did not begin till many years, and a larger knowl- 
edge of society, had taught more self-control ; and he must have felt 
more afraid, as well as unwilling, to offend you. But not twenty 
years ago he refused ever to see again a school-fellow whom he valued 
almost as highly as Birch. It seems ungrateful on my part to re- 
member these frailties, — for, long after our early affection had 
ceased, he endured much more patiently my remonstrances and re- 

* One thinks of Chaucer's pleasant couplet in his picture of a lawyer of bis time: — 

" No wher so besy a man as he ther n'as, 
And yit he semede besier than he was." 

90 gebir; and earliest friendships. 2J?^i 

proaches than those of any other persons, being resolved that ^r& 
should never quarrel again as we had done almost forty years ago. 
Yet such knowledge is necessary if you would describe him truly. I-fc 
was for the sake of his peace and reputation that I so often gave, or 
hazarded, offence." 

Nor had Rough scrupled to hazard it as well, during the time of their 
intercourse. His high admiration for Landor's powers, cherished all 
the more because shared by so very few, made him keen to the per- 
ception of faults that obstructed their healthful exercise ; and, genial, 
^careless, good-natured as he was, he remonstrated more than once 
against complaints which he justly thought not the most monlyr. 
The Werterism of that day was the Byronism of a quarter of a cen- 
tury later ; but though Landor had to pass through this and other 
distempers of youth, happily they left no mark upon his writings. 
There is a tone in Rough's remonstrances that commands respect and 

" Dimmer than my eyes have been for this many a day," he writes, 
" would they now be, my dear Landor, if I believed your letter from Bath 
written in other than a casual and momentary distemperature. No, no, 
my friend, I cannot and will not think but that you have strength enough 
to fight against the sleepless nights you speak of. This world of ours, if 
not a world of chrysolite, is notwithstanding a bawble worth our looking 
at ; and he who plays with the trinket is surely wiser than he who sits in 
a corner and cries for the moon, which is out of his reach. . . . Come, 
come, rouse yourself and write. If you must die, it is at least your duty 
to leave something behind you ; and though Gebir will do much, yet I am 
persuaded it is in your power to do still more. Literature, like other 
things, as often obtains the reward of praise by quantity as quality ; and 
we are all of us so little important to others, that unless we put them in 
mind of us daily, we shall scarcely avoid being forgotten. It is strange 
that you should be so insensible to the advantages you possess as you seem 
to be. / am hourly rating my hard fate, that compels me to pursue a pro- 
fession in which Letters rather impede than assist, and in which I am 
forced to exert much benevolence to save me from despising most of my 
co-laborers. You, on the other hand, are at liberty to move whithersoever 
inclination leads, — with a more than adequate competence now, and with 
an assurance of a richer fortune in years to come ; with the possession, not 
merely of the love, but the power, of intellect ; with the consciousness that 
you are pursuing that which such beings as Homer, Virgil, and Milton have 
cultivated before you ; and with a chance of gaining the reward which 
they have gained. I address you thus freely because I suspect not only 
that you, but that our friend Lambc is a little tinctured with that sickness 
of mind which prompts us to fret at the seeming respect paid to those who 
sleep on # gilded sofas and whose houses are castles, — sofas pressed by 
illiterate indolence, and castles inhabited by folly. In all else he is fault- 
less. His wife, as you have said, is an angel. ... I will not add to your 
naturally disobedient spirit by urging you to read, from which you tell me 
you are severely prohibited. But that the cause of that prohibition may 

• The letter is dated " May, Thursday 13th (1801), 10 Farrar's Buildings, Inner 

* m 



speedily be removed, I do most earnestly pray. Believe me your grateful 
and affectionate friend, W. Bough." 

Anticipating my narrative a little, I may add that before the mid- 
dle of the following year Rough's bachelor life had ended, and, in 
thanking Landor for good wishes sent to him, he had rallied his 
friend again upon his tone of despondency, adjured him for Heaven's 
sake to keep up his spirits, and, with much grateful allusion to Doc- 
tor Landor and the house at Warwick, expressed his hope to be in a 
few weeks settled in a house of his own, where he should at all times 
be eager to receive, and when necessary to nurse, the friend to whom. 
he owed so much. " My Henrietta I have at present left in the 
country. Be assured, however, that she is fully disposed to welcome 
von as the most valued of her husband's friends." His Henrietta was 
Jack Wilkes's daughter ; and Mr. Robert Landor's brief allusion to 
her, and to the leading points of the later life of her husband, must 
satisfy whatever further interest my readers may feel in Landor's 
once celebrated, now forgotten friend, Chief-Justice Rough.* 

" Mr. Rough had married an illegitimate daughter of the patriot 
John Wilkes; attracted rather by the father's celebrity than the 
daughter's beauty. When he and I first met at Warwick, he pro- 
posed to travel a hundred miles by the stage-coach that he might 
attend a Christmas ball, and dance with Doctor Parr's daughter, 
whom he had never seen. As had been foretold, while Mr. Copley's 
profession advanced, Mr. Rough's receded, — and now he is a family 
man. Very reluctantly, he relinquished his hopes of a seat in the 
House of Commons, — as solicitor-general, attorney-general, on his 
way to better things. Then he would find leisure to begin, at last, a 

• Since this pace was in type I have received also some interesting recollections of 
Rough from my old friend Sir Frederick Pollock confirmatory on every point of Mr. 
Laodor's sketch. " He became a sergeant on the 80th of May, 1808, before I settled in 
London. He was in a batch of servants with William Mariley, and with Albert Pell, 
who afterwards led the Western circuit and became a judge in bankruptcy. Five 
vears later, in July, 1818, Copley became a sergeant, and immediately extinguished 
Rough on his circuit; compelling him to seek for a maintenance in some judicial 
appointment abroad. He was made, first, chief justice of Demerara; where (as usual) 
the lawyer-judge quarrelled with the soldier-governor about some question of feminine 
precedence, the governor taking out some lady before the judWs wife: and here, I 
think, Rough lost his wife. But to go back to 1808. I used to hear a great deal, and . 
sec a little, of him in the society of Mrs. Barbauld, Lucy Aikin, Mr. Aikin (son of the \ 
Doctor), and Mrs. Aikin (daughter of Gilbert Wakefiefd). They all had the highest 
opinion of him, and expected him to be a great success at the bar: nor were his claims 
contemptible. His countenance was pleasing, his voice agreeable, his conversation 
lively; if not powerfully, he talked always well and fluently, and in public his com- 
mand of language never failed him; but for great business he was unfit He was more* 
literary than legal, and had more elegance than strength. From what I used always to 
hear of his strong affections, his good temper,, and amiable character, I can understand 
a great intimacy between him and Landor or Mackintosh, — such as exists between 
the vine and the forest-trees that support it. I never saw his verses, but they were 
greatly commended by Miss Burges and the oi i^'. In 1818 I married, and saw very 
little more of that literary society, which seemed to meet merely that they might praise 
each other. I saw Rough's declining business, and heard with pleasure of his appoint- 
ment. He did not return to the bar; and I think I never saw him again. He died 
chief justice of Ceylon." 


92 gebir; axd earliest friendships. SS^faSi 

very great poem ! Perhaps it was through the interest of the first 
Lord Lansdowne that he became chief justice in one of the West India.n 
Islands ; but his heart was left for the House of Commons, and lie 
soon returned to it. Some quarrel about precedency at the governor's 
ball, between Mrs. Rough and the wife of a general or colonel wlio 
commanded the garrison there, was decided unsatisfactorily; and the 
chief justice, if such was his title, returned to England. I think: 
that by this time Copley had succeeded Lord Eldon as lord chancellor ; 
and if so, there were few men who could congratulate him more sin- 
cerely than Rough ; for Rough seemed quite incapable of jealousy, 
and his own turn must come soon. Meanwhile, he could not resume 
his former practice, and he had, I believe, two or three children. It 
was thought, unjustly, that his old friend might have forwarded liis 
wishes more effectually by obtaining for him some such appointment 
as would keep him at home. But it is not improbable that the lord 
chancellor may have doubted his qualification for much responsibility 
so near to the House of Commons; and Rough never changed his 
political opinions, as Copley had done. At last, Mr. Rough was con- 
strained to accept the chief-justiceship of Ceylon. There he lost his 
wife ; and after the customary residence his own health failed, and 
for its restoration he returned to England. My brother Henry saw 
him, but I did not ; and I must caution you against too much confidence 
in my accuracy after more than fifty years. I cannot consult my 
brother, as his memory is far worse than mine ; and we have outlived 
all our contemporaries. Unable to accomplish such an exchange as 
he desired, Mr. Rough returned to Ceylon, and died there. He was 
kind, friendly, social ; and of much more than average capacity : but 
too whimsical for much success even as a poet." 

How many a like career may we read in this, of brilliant design 
and imperfect execution, of the eagerness without the purpose to ex- 
cel, of judgment ready for a friend's guidance and insufficient for our 
own, and yet of ardent hopes so surviving every disappointment as 
to be themselves no mean compensation for all. 


When Southey was at Cintra in the summer of 1800 he had writ- 
ten to his friend Humphry Davy at Bristol : "I see the author of 
Gebir has been translating from the Arabic and Persian. Can there 
possibly be Arabic and Persian poetry which the author of Gebir may 
be excused for translating?"* This was another of those "little 

* Tn a letter to Mr. Crabb Robinson of the 26th April, 1886, writing of Goethe's 
translations and translators, he adds: " It is curious that, when I was about three-and- 
twenty, I wrote some poetry in imitation of the Persian and Arabic. Few copies, 
I believe, were printed, and perhaps none sold. I never thought of making an inquiry 
about them. There are three or four of Hafiz not bad, — I question where there is any- 
thing else positively good in the whole range of Eastern poetry, except the Jewish " 
T wo-and-twenty years later he reproduced some of these imitations (Dry Sticks), with the 

ST. 22-3<x] PARR AND ADAIR. 93 

publications' 1 of which his brother has spoken, hastily conceived, 
more hastily printed, forgotten as soon as published, yet with fancies 
and thoughts that deserved more careful presentment and a longer 
life. It was not from the Arabic and Persian at all, but was a very 
clever imitation of such specimens of Eastern literature as were then 
derived chiefly through French translations ; and consisting altogether 
of not more than twenty quarto pages, was accompanied by notes in 
about an equal number that might have set by the ears .as many 
score of learned combatants, if the notice drawn to them had borne 
any kind of proportion to the loudness of the demand made for it. 
But as their scholarship attracted nobody, it was quite as well that 
what else they contained should have passed unchallenged. The 
thing fell dead-born, no one caring even to raise a doubt of the 
authenticity of the so-called Orientalisms ; and Landor used always 
to say that the imposition certainly had succeeded with Parr. The 
old scholar was never an adept at poetry, and his brain was just now 
occupied and overfilled with politics. 

" My good friend," runs one of his notes at this time (Landor be- 
ing in London), " pray go to the House. I have prepared Mr. Adair 
for an interview with you, — as a man of intellect, and my valuable 
friend. Call on him in Great Marlborough Street, and leave a card. 
The mighty are not fallen, but they have descended to avoid being 
pushed down now, and to secure being raised up hereafter. God 
bless you. Mrs. Parr desires her kind regards. We often talk of 
you, Walter. I am truly yours, S. Pair." * 

" The mighty " were Mr. Pitt and his friends Windham, Grenville, 
and D undas, who had just retired to make room for Mr. Addington. 
The whole business is now so completely dead and gone that it would 
only try the reader's patience to tell him how Pitt, in carrying the 
Union, is alleged to have made promises to the Irish Catholics which 
he could neither keep nor break with decency ; how he was thereupon 
supposed to have had nothing for it but to quit the seat of power for a 
time, putting somebody in to keep it warm and disengaged till he 
J should be able to return to it ; and how it was that thus came about 
jthat ludicrous thing called the Addington Administration. But 
though all the animation and interest have gone out of it now, it was 
once filled vividly with both ; and the best kind of notion I can give 
of Lander's pursuits and habits of thought at this time in connection 
with it will be derived from a few extracts of letters then addressed 
to him, and of letters written by himself. 

Truth to say, however, this is not an easy task, with Parr's letters 
at least. It is as difficult to decipher his handwriting * as to connect 

remark that they had originated in a friend's having observed to him, on his seeming 
to undervalue the Orientals, that he should be glad to see how any one would succeed 
in an attempt to imitate them. 

* "You always wrote hierogiyphically," says Charles Lamb to George Dyer, 
" yet not to come tip to the mystical notations and conjuring characters of Doctor 
?ut '* And for an amusing illustration of Parr's hieroglyphics, see Rogeris Table- 


94 gebir; and earliest friendships. w^bS: 

bis sentences when deciphered. He has twelve words where one 
would do, and as many seventhlies and lastlies for every division of a 
subject as one of the old Puritan preachers. In vehemence as well 
as abundance of language, too, his example was a bad one for Lan- 
dor ; whose own self-sufficient way of judging both men and things, 
if at this time happily restrained rather than encouraged by any one 
whose judgment he respected, might not have grown into the unfortu- 
nate habit which tyrannized over him in later years. Certainly no 
lessons were to be drawn from Parr, either of prudence in forming 
opinions or moderation in expressing them. 

Upon the first news of Pitt's resignation he wrote to Landor to ex- 
pose what he called the deep and mischievous craft of the impostor. 
He wanted it laid open to the public in parliamentary speeches, in 
newspaper paragraphs, in general conversation, and in political pam- 
phlets ; and with a view to each and all, Landor was to do what he 
could. Again and again the alarm was to be sounded in every quar- 
ter ; and in every quarter were to be proclaimed the aggravations of 
his misbehavior to the king and the Irish. He had betrayed the king 
and insulted the Irish, he had betrayed the Irish and insulted the 
king. But it should all be ripped up in the House of Commons. 
Why did he pledge himself to the Irish without consulting the king ] 
Why did he not consult the king before pledging himself to the Irish 1 
If he did consult the king, who was to blame ) If he did not con- 
sult the king, what was the reason ? If he expected assent, then had 
he most wantonly brought the king into a scrape. If, at the moment 
of consultation, he expected tfwsent, then, at the moment of action, he 
must have intended to compel absent. And so, to give but a few faint 
echoes of a letter that would take as many pages to print as are here 
compressed in lines, and as many weeks completely to decipher, the 
excited old Whig seesaws through a bill of indictment against the re- 
tiring minister, to which he wishes Landor to give all the " attrac- 
tiveness of his style, all the power of his eloquence, and all the bit- 
terness of his sarcasm." 

Landor nevertheless had some difficulty, which it was the object of 
a second letter to remove ; and from this I am able to extract, with 
sufficient compendiousness, ten several heads of accusation, which, 
after due time for reflection, Parr submitted as the objects Pitt must 
have had in view, and the advantages he had proposed to himself, in 
resigning. The shrewdness of the matter and pomposity of the man- 
ner are Parr all over. 

" I will enumerate the advantages he hopes to derive. 1. Public atten- 
tion is turned from the perils of war to the change of administration. 2. 
Pitt will rise by comparison with the weakness of his successors ; and, while 
action is suspended, his power to act will be forced upon men's memories, 
sifted in their conversations, and enlarged in their imaginations, by contrast 
with notorious incapacity ; and thus he escapes from their anger, he diverts 
that anger to other objects, and he recalls to our minds the brighter parts 

JET. 22-30.] PARR AND ADAIR. 95 

of his character at a crisis when every man feels that ministerial talents are 
necessary for national safety. 3. He has carried off his whole strength in 
a mass, and in a mass he will preserve it, that it may be brought again into 
action in a mass. 4. He has gone out in defence of a popular measure, and 
the circumstance will secure a stout party in Ireland, and will not be un- 
welcome to the sectaries of England. 5. He has thrown the whole re- 
sponsibility upon the junto and the king ; so as to induce a suspicion that 
lie neither has been nor will be governed by that secret and mischievous 
Cabal, which controlled his father, which excludes Mr. Fox, and to which, 
as their primary source, all the disasters of the reign are usually traced up. 
6. His descending orb is surrounded with that glory which accompanied 
its meridian height, for it is he who with magnanimity conducts the loan, 
and it is he upon whose wisdom the money -holders rely. 7. He has con- 
trived to show the inflexibility of the king's mind towards the Whigs, when 
in preference to them even the weakest persons are called into office, at a 
most dangerous juncture. And this consideration will have its due weight 
with the selfish and corrupt Parliament 8. By his organ Lord Grenville 
he has instructed his followers what part they are to take in supporting the 
same principles under the guidance of other men, and consequently he for- 
bids them to prepare for acting according to other principles with the mem- 
bers of opposition. 9. He will assume an air of moderation ; he will affect 
not to clog the wheels of government ; he will claim the merit of assist- 
ing measures which he no longer guides ; he will find in them opportuni- 
ties sometimes for vindicating his own, when they were similar, and some- 
times for praising his own, when they were better ; and thus he will 
encourage the superficial to believe, and the cunning to maintain, that his 
ambition and his resentment are quelled by his disinterested loyalty and 
unfeigned patriotism. Finally, he knows that between himself and his 
sovereign there is only one strong point of difference ; but that between 
his rivals and the crown there is not only the same point of difference with 
greater provocations, but other points of even superior magnitude from 
which Mr. Fox will never swerve, and to which the king will never accede. 
He therefore has quitted his power at a time when It wrfs most difficult to 
retain it, and when he could take the best preparatory measures for resum- 
in? it; and, at the moment of resuming it, he will convert the odium of 
beginning and misconducting the war into popularity by making the 

These were the texts he would have Landor write upon. Even 
jet the mischief might be stayed. In the matter of the old Tories 
Pitt had been reckoning without his host. They would be inflamed 
by all this. If proper measures were taken, never was a period more 
favorable for hunting him down ; and never such a favorable period 
'or his return to power, if such measures were not taken. Some mis- 
giving, nevertheless, whether Landor was the man to take them, and 
▼hether he could be trusted for not straying too far afield, creeps 
"rto the letter. " I wish," says Parr, " you would expand the matter 
contained in this letter, and publish it in the Courier, and lay out 
upon it that vigorous eloquence with which you often charm my ears. 
It will have effect, if you will keep back some of your favorite and 
Perhaps erroneous opinions." There were also other difficulties that 
fcade Landor not very manageable. From the earlier attempts to 


96 gebir; and earliest friendships. ^^ 

get him into regular harness, and put him under proper leaders, lie 
seems to have shied and bolted incessantly. " Why," asks Parr, in 
the same letter, " don't you go down to the House 1 I will give you 
letters of introduction to men you will like ; and from the civility of 
being introduced by them into the House, why should you shrink % w 
These strenuous efforts are not without their effect, and we see him 
at the House at last under charge of Adair. 

But before turning to the letters of that stanchest of Whigs, a few 
further notes may be given from those of Landor. and Parr. Here is 
an acknowledgment from the young poet of the old scholar's sugges- 
tions and praise : — 

" I am rejoiced to find that you have not forgotten me, and I raise my- 
self up from the bosom of indifference to the voice and the blandishments 
of praise. I never court the vulgar, and how immense a majority of every 
rank and description this happy word comprises! Perhaps about thirty in 
the universe may be excepted, and never more at a time. But I know 
how to value the commendation you bestow on me ; for, though I have 
not deserved it, nor so largely, yet it will make me attempt to conquer my 
idleness, my disgust, and to reach it some time or other. You will find 
that I have taken courage to follow the path you pointed out, in pursuing 
the execrable [Pitt]. I subjoin my letter. At present I have not sent it 
to the printer, though it has been finished a fortnight. The reason is this: 
I wrote one a thousand times better than the present, in which I aimed 
my whole force at a worse man than [Pitt], — there are only two, and it 
was not Wpndham], — and I sent it for insertion to the Courier. Now, 
such is my indifference, that, when once I have written a thing, I never in- 
quire for it afterwards ; and this was the case in respect to my letter. I 
have not seen the Courier since, but I have some suspicion that it was not 

That is just the man as he was known to me forty and fifty years 
later : fancying always that he could place himself " on a hill apart " 
even from those with whom he was actually contending ; and mistak- 
ing for indifference, both to opinions and to consequences, what was 
but exaggerated impatience of contradictory opinion and a running 
away from consequences. 

What the tone of his letters to the Courier is likely to have been, 
we are not without hints of : — 

u Did Mr. Pitt expect, or did he not, the royal assent to his transaction 
with the Irish ? I hardly know in which instance of the two his crime 
would be the greater. If he did not, how gross the deception ; how deep 
and unpardonable the insult ; how cruel and killing a mockery I " 

To which Parr rejoins in a letteV taking a less favorable view than 
before of Pitt's chances of success in his " diabolical n scheme. The 
peace had now been made by Addington, and that advantage lost to 
his expecting heir and successor : — 

w Pitt has insulted the king by pledging his word ; he has betrayed him 
by throwing responsibility upon him for the disappointment of the Irish. 
He means to compel the sovereign to recall his former ministers when the 

JET. 22-3<x] PABB AND ADAIB. 97 

inefficiency of their successors appears to the crown, the Parliament, and 
the country ; and when the alternative lies between Pitt, who contends 
only for one point, and Fox, who will insist upon many. But he cannot 
recover his popularity with the nation ; he cannot regain all his strength 
in Parliament ; he cannot efface our remembrance 01 the war, by seizing 
upon office to make the peace ; and yet he may re-establish his influence 
over the mind of his sovereign. My friend, we have gained one point by 
these struggles between the ministry and the junto ; and the people, if 
they are wise, will direct their suspicions, indignation, and resistance 
aeainst both. I wish you would look into the second book of Xenophon's 
'EAAipuca for the character of Meno. Many but not all the circumstances 
have the very strongest resemblance. Pray consider this last passage, for 
it luminously describes the subserviency of arrogance to cunning in the 
bosom of this man. .... My printing goes on but slowly. You estimate 
rightly the great intellectual power of Mr. Wynne. Catherine [Parr's 
daughter] is at Mackintosh's, No. 14 Searle Street. She leaves town in a 
day or two, and you may send any message by her. Watch what is pass- 
ing. Mrs. Parr joins me in best wishes and best thanks. I am, my dear 
Walter, ever your friend, S. Parr." * 

I have spared the reader, there, ten lines of Xenophon ; though 
Greek is more legible than English in the writing of Parr, and a sub- 
stantial scrap interlarded from the ancients is some help to his own 
puffs and pastry. But he carried the habit to excess, as he did most 
things ; and Holofernes himself was not more ridiculous in chopping 
and changing for Latin or Greek the baldest phrases of his mother 
tongue than this genuine scholar often was. See how he acknowl- 
edges a gift from Landor : — 

* I have been eager to acknowledge the fiaBv xf*°* under which you 
have laid Mrs. Parr and myself by the present of a very instructive book ; 
and of maps the most accurate, the most splendid, and the most interesting 
that ever came into my possession." 

See also how he talks, or perorates, about the peace : — 

"True it is that by the cessation of hostilities there will be* less flutter 
of curiosity and less anxiety of expectation than we felt during the war. 
Bat, in a calmer and a more permanent and a more pleasing state of mind, 
we can now trace the progress of the victors and tne retreat of the van- 
quished. There will be a mellowness in our satisfaction and a distinctness 
in our conceptions that will amply compensate for the want of those feel- 
ings which accompany perturbation, and therefore partake of hope and 
fear, and of rapture and agony. Glad shall I be when you sit down with 
us again, and chat on the virtues of Moreau, the talents of Buonaparte, 
the humors of Paul, and the perilous condition of this oppressed and in- 
salted kingdom. As to late events, the ostensible is not the sole nor the 
chief cause of Mr. Pitt's plot, 

icrrcu \mcdv Sin) xptyi *ol ifi&fKQV cV f**p*t" 

[which I may translate to the effect that Pitt was to play the lion's part 
when necessary, and the monkey's in division of spoil ]. " The wrangle 

* Addressed to " Walter Landor, Esq., at R. Sevan's, Esq., No. 10 Boswell Court, 
Carey Street." April, 1801. 


98 gebir; and earliest friendships. 5p£*5: 

about indulgence to Catholics, the resignation of the old ministry, the 
appointment of the new, the strength studiously abducted from them, the 
compliments bestowed upon them, the assistance solicited for them, and 
the principles imputed to them, are one and all mere Bcaadka <ro0t<r/uira. 
Rely upon it, sooner or later, Paul will have Malta, the French will have 
Egypt, and the Mamelukes will justify the proverb, dciyoi irXcxrctv rot, &c., 
&c, &c." [I spare the reader more.] 

Nor was Landor loath to pay him back the same liberal largess 
for kindnesses expected or received. The old scholar was just now 
publishing his Spital Sermon, and had promised Landor a copy ; hav- 
ing given him a few months before a small Catullus, which more than 
half a century later I saw, still cherished, in his hands. Here is 
characteristic acknowledgment of both : —  

" It is a sign that I have conversed with hardly a human being, not to 
know that your Sermon was published I As you intend to make me a 
present of one, pray do not keep it for me, but send it me directly. I wish 
for all enjoyment at once. I wish, while I improve my judgment and my 
taste, to indulge my sentiment and affections in contemplating the present 
of my friend. I have a little Catullus, — I can repeat every word of it ; 
yet again and again do I read my little Catullus. I never knew the 
author, and I should not have esteemed him if I had, unless as the most 
exquisite of poets. Do I not know the author of the sermon ? Do I not 
esteem him far, infinitely, more than for being the most elegant and ener- 
getic of our writers ? I hope this noble work, for I can speak of as much 
as I have seen, will be effectual in making Englishmen write English. 
Our language is bruised, as it were, and swollen by the Latin; but it is 
contaminated, enervated, and distorted by the French 1 If we are to bor- 
row, let us borrow from the principal and not from the underlings ; but 
with a little good management I think we are quite rich enough." 

Catullus again and again recurs in the letters of both. Landor 
had questioned a word in that delightful writer : Parr promptly re- 
plies : — 

" I looked into my Catullus, and can relieve you from all doubts about 
1 tympanum.' In Mattaire's Corpu* Poetarum it is printed i typanum/ and 
that is the true reading. It is a Grecism, and furnishes an additional prob- 
ability that some Greek word was in the mind of the Roman writer. 
Scaliger reads 'typanum,' and quotes from Homer, — the line is in his 
hymn to the Mater Deorum. Scaliger quotes also from Apollonius 

The letter bristles with Greek and Latin, which I do not inflict 
upon the reader ; passes into a disquisition on the metre of Catullus, 
with a sketch to show the rhythm and its variations ; and closes 
thus : — 

"The cretic foot, whether in 'tympanum' or 'cymbelum,' is quite inad- 
missible in the beginning of the palliambic. It retards the progress. I 
will show you Jortin's remarks. He errs once or twice ; but he reads 
1 typanum.' " 


As Landor went on writing he seems at times to have even bettered 

£X.22-3<X] PARR AND ADAIR. 99 

the instruction of his uncompromising old "pastor and master" in party 
warfare. Remarking on one of his political satires which Landor 
had sent him, Parr thinks " the composition animated, but the notes 
rather too acrimonious." Still he finds them spirited, and can sympa- 
thize with the indignant writer in the matter of Kotzebue. " But 
why attack the father? he was not a discarded player. The conclu- 
sion is fierce, but witty and just." 

One or two glimpses of their more private intercourse may be 


" I am very sorry that we missed each other when you called on me and 
I on you ; and I am sure that if Walter Landor had gone into the pene- 
trale of Hatton Parsonage, he would have found the Lares ready to wel- 
come with a smile the return of an old and justly respected worshipper. 
Pray do you and Dr. Lambe dine with me next Sunday ; and if you come 

in a chaise,. cram little A — : — into a corner." 


The matter next adverted to has no sort of interest for us now, but 
seventy years ago was setting all the world at Warwick by the ears ; 
and the colonel mentioned is the same we made acquaintance with in 
one of Mr. Robert Landor^s letters. Indeed one may discern in the 
tone here taken by Parr, and what it reveals of the part in a personal 
dispute taken by Landor himself, some connection with allusions 
made in that letter. 


" What a truth is there, and what lies, about Stoneleigh living ! Upon one 
canticle of that Cyclean poem (for there is such a want of regularity in the 
structure, and of dignity in the agents, that I cannot call any part the epi- 
sode of an epic), I would assume the office of a critic ; strict indeed, but 
precise, as Aristarchus. Colonel Packwood certainly applied to Lord 
Hertford for his son; Lord Hertford certainly applied to the chancellor, but 
without mentioning Colonel Packwood's son ; and Lord Hertford, if his 
application had been successful, certainly would not have given the living 
to Colonel Packwood's son. Colonel Packwood certainly knows these are 
the facts as well as I do, and before I did ; nor would he,' as a gentleman 
responsible for veracity and honor, ever attempt to dispute the correctness 
of one tittle of this my. statement You may say what I have said ; and 
quote ray authority for saying it positively. I am, dear Walter, truly 
yours, S.'Parr."* 

What follows is later in date by a year or two ; but it shows what 
a fierce enemy as well as fast friend this eager old man could be, and 
how genuine the regard was that Landor had inspired in him. The 
letter is very characteristic, and there is no need to supply the blank 
with a name. 


" Deab Walter, — I have known for thirty-six years and more. But 

I do not like him; and, for various reasons in the politics of Harrow, we 

* M December 28, 1802." 

100 gebir: and earliest friendships. R?"SJfr? 


are not on very amicable terms. A letter from me would do you no good. 
If there were the smallest chance of advantage or convenience to you, 1 
would write to him. But he is not likely to fall into any measure because 
I take an interest in it Write to him at once ; in this there is no trouble 
and can be no harm. I much doubt whether he would sell, or exchange ; 
and if he knew your genius, your attainments, your politics, your elo- 
quence, and your dignified way of thinking and acting upon all subjects in 
private and public life, he would dread you, hate you, and drive you into 
the sea. I know him well, and he knows that I know him. But his son 
is a most high-minded, generous-hearted, clear and full-headed hero. He 
would do for a friend to you, or to myself. Harry is his name ; and he is a 
tutor at Harrow, and fellow of King's College. Cambridge. When Butler 
resigns, Harry shall be his successor, if my aid can effect so desirable an 
end. I am very well, and rather busy, and quite content with my own 
share of loss by the change of ministry. You hate Bonaparte. But I do 
not suspect you have any strong affection for George and his present 

advisers Farewell, God bless you, dear Walter. I am truly, ay 

with real and great respect and regard I am your friend,- S. Parr." 

My two closing extracts, from letters of the date of 1800 and 1801, 
concern persons more widely known. 


" Beware, dear Walter, of prophecies about politicians. On Friday at 
3 p. m. I said, Sheridan will never meet me ! On that very day at 6 p. m. 
Sheridan came in where I was dining, on purpose to meet me. I sat with 
him enjoying my pipe after dinner, and he sat with his claret" 


" My Jemmy (Mackintosh) was delightful, and I will tell you who were 
with us. 1. A sturdy democratic yeoman. 2. A university bedel, who, I 
find, is always reading in the Bodleian, and who is a shrewd, argumenta- 
tive, sceptical, anti-ministerial dog. 3. What is more surprising, a doctor 
of divinity ; whom I have known twenty-four years and not seen these 
ten ; who took his degree twenty years ago, and has not been at Oxford 
since ; who reads Greek well, has more Greek books than myself makes 
war upon all bishops and archbishops, and is a rank, fire-away, uncompro- 
mising Whig in Church and State. These were our companions. There 
never was such good luck." 

Adair's letters of this date in a great measure deal with the same 
circumstances ; but in the few extracts I give it will be possible to 
avoid repetition. Though he feels strongly, he writes always with 
ability and a command of temper ; and in him, even while yet he was 
a constant butt for the sarcasm of Canning and his friends, I seem to 
recognize the same quiet courteous gentleman whom I remember 
meeting at dinner at Holland House nearly forty years later. Here is 
one of his references to 


" I have long ceased all intercourse, public or private, with the Duke of 
Portland ; and as my connection with nim was one of the earliest of my 

.€T.22- 3 0.] *ABB A™ ****? -101 

ETe, I am not ashamed to confess that my resentments are bounded by the 
wiah of never seeing him more, or hearing the mention of his name. But 
be has forfeited all right to my interposition with others to spare him the 
reproaches which he has deserved from his country and from mankind." 

Heife he speaks of a subject in some degree affecting his loyalty as 
a Whig, but on which, with all his ardor in the cause, he could agree 
to differ with Landor. 


" With regard to King William, I profess my gratitude to him to arise 
from public principle, and public principle alone; but having no other 
means of forming my judgment of his character than those which are com- 
mon to everybody, I do not feel myself authorized to claim the concurrence 
of any man living who has the faculty of reasoning for himself With your 
permission I win show your letter to Mr. Perry, but without mentioning \ 

your name." 


It recurs briefly in a letter where he alludes to 


" I sent your letter to Doctor Parr this day. I have the pleasure to tell 
you that he will be in town next week. As you may wish to read his ser- 
mon before his arrival, I take the liberty of sending you my copy. There 
are some noble passages in the notes. You seem not to be quite sure 
whether or no the editor of the Courier has rejected your letter. I wiU 
take the opportunity of looking at the file, and will let you know. The 
degraded state of the English press induces me to suspect that it has been 
omitted. I have no hesitation in saving for myself, and can answer for 
many of my friends, that we should have been much gratified to have seen 
it in print. I confess that I think better of King William than you seem to 
do, but perhaps I am a little blinded by my gratitude (to use a Godwin- 
ism). This however is but a difference of opinion, and cannot detract from 
the substantial merits of the writing. I am acquainted with the Editor of 
the Courier, but am almost sure that you would find an easy access to the % 
Morning Chronicle if you would permit me to speak to Mr. Perry. I would | 
not name this to you, did I not know Mr. Perry to be a man of inviolable 
honor. I will not vex you with praises, but only wish you to think as 
well of my judgment as you do of my patriotism and my politeness when 
1 apply those praises to your compositions." 

Lander's ability had made a strong impression on Adair' but he 
saw also his defects, and, as in a letter where he criticises one of his 
attacks on the new government, could give him wise and useful hints 
for guidance. 


" That the Catholics were ' promised ' emancipation in the fair meaning 
of the word ' promise/ as the price of their support of the Union, I have not 
the smallest doubt ; but since the positive denial of the fact in Parliament, 
1 do not think we are authorized to state it as ' uncontrovertedV When 
you ask, very justly as I think, ' Where is the constitution but in the bosom 
of such affectionate and disinterested defenders as the solicitor-general?' 

• •• • • 

• • •"•••■ 


• > 

• ••••*• 

. .• 


lCra\ . :•• • > : *. .-cnfotB ; tXD earliest friendships, SS^toL 

I am infinitely more afraid, I confess, of his reply ex officio as a lawyer than, 
as a logician. Believe me the press is absolutely enslaved. Coupled with 
other sentences in your letter, which by innuendo might be laid as lending 
to bring the government into disrepute (a crime quite of modern date), I 
am afraid a jury might be found to condemn it But, of all men, you have 
the least reason to despair as a public writer, for you possess such resources 
for escape in your powers of satire and of irony that you will always bo 
able, as soon as you have found out the trim of the vessel, to state the 
strongest truths, and to state them safely." 

One more subject, an appeal in arrest of judgment as to one of 
Landor's personal attacks, must close these extracts for the present. 
Landor, in one of his political letters on the defection of the Duke of 
Portland and his friends, had laughed at the Abbe Delille, at this 
time a refugee in London, much petted by the Whigs and bringing 
out a poem under their patronage. " The Abbe Delille ran away 
from his property, the Abbe* Delille wrote some Georgics, and the Abbe 
Delille talks of VirgiL" Commenting on this letter, and giving up 
the duke to its wrath, Adair writes to Landor : — 


" I could much rather intercede for the poor old Abbe* Delille, were it 
only because he had the boldness to defy Robespierre on his throne of 
blood, and to publish, I believe to recite before him, his fine verses on the 
immortality or the soul. The occasion of his writing them was as follows. 
In 1794, the Comite* de Salut Public sent to him to compose some verses 
for a festival which they had ordered in honor of Gk>d, whom Robespierre 
had previously recognized by a decree of the Convention. Delille refused. 
It was told him that he had been permitted to live quietly at Paris till that 
time, but that those who had protected him might possibly not be able to 
protect him any longer if he persisted in his refusal He composed, there- 
fore, an ode, which he recited to some of them, in which are the following 

stanzas : — 

4 Dans 8A dement© inc*branlable 
Assise ettr riternitt 
La tranquille immortality 
Propice au bon, et terrible au conpable, 
Du terns qui, sous ses yeux, marche a pas de giant, 
Dlfend rami de la justice, 
Et ravit a I'espoir au vice, 
• L'asile horrible du n£ant 

4 vous, qui de l'Olympe usurpant le tonnerre, 
Des e*ternels lois renversez les autels, 
Laches oppressenrs de la terre, 
Tremblez — vous fites immortels : 
Et vous — vous du malheur victimes passageres, 
Sur qui veUlent d'un Dieu les regards pateruels, 
Voyageurs d'un moment aux terres e*trangeres, 
Consolez vous — vous Stes immortels.* 

If you have never seen these lines, nor heard of the anecdote before, the 
Abbe* Delille may, perhaps, rise in your estimation. At all events I think I 
Bhall - - -   " "  - ~ "" • - - -■ - 




*r. 23-3°-] AT PAMS m 1804 * 103 

Perhaps it may be owing to a favorable impression made thus early 
by this kindly plea of Adair for the good old abb4, that Landor made 
him afterwards an interlocutor in one of his imaginary dialogues. 
But he never conquered his own dislike of the French character and 
literature. It was one of his earliest and one of his latest peculiari- 
ties. The armed republic that was to change the face of the world 
had failed of its glorious mission ; even the hopes he once built on 
Bonaparte he cherished no longer ; and though eager to visit France 
as soon as peace was declared, and curious to Bee her first consul, it 
was with very little of that kind of sympathy for the hero of the 
eighteenth Brumaire and now supreme ruler of France which carried 
over at the same time Fox himself, Adair, and many eager followers. 


Landor had declined all introductions ; though letters had been 
offered him, as he told his brother, which would have opened to him 
the salons of the second consul Cambaceres, and of Berthier the 
minister of war. There was but one Frenchman he cared to see, and 
one portion of France. Paris, as the great city looked so soon after 
the storm of the Revolution, with her Louvre filled by the spoils of 
Italy ; and Bonaparte, now consul for life ; when these had been 
seen, he should at once return. 

The precise time of his arrival was that to which Wordsworth's 
well-known sonnet has referred : — 

" This is young Bonaparte's natal day, 
And his is henceforth an establisht sway, 
Consul for Life/* 

Upon the occasion when Bonaparte first publicly assumed the rank 
with which he had been thus invested, Landor saw him. Advantage 
had been taken of it for a great holiday, of which, as the young Eng- 
lishman walked the streets, he saw everywhere the mighty prepara- 
tion. Yet in the signs of enthusiasm presented outwardly there were 
curious contrasts. On the one hand, " The private houses were no more 
illuminated than usual The shops had two lamps instead of one. 
This was the only difference." On the other hand, " The palace of the 
government, the metropolitan church, the arches of the bridges, the 
bridges themselves and all the public edifices, were illuminated most 
magnificently. n That the enthusiasm had been specially got up for 
Paris, in short, quite as muoh as any other part of the ceremony, 
Landor had reason to suspect ; and the suspicion became a certainty 
when the hero of the day made his appearance. 

This was in the garden of the Tuileries ; and in a letter to his brother 
Henry, now lying before me, he described the -scene. At various 
points there had been built up pyramids of wood, each of the height 
of five-and-twenty feet, covered with lamps of extraordinary bril- 
liancy. In the same manner were ornamented " the sides of several 



104 gebir; and eabzjbbt friendships. J^ k 4' 

pieces of water in which were fountains playing ; and there was not 
a statue nor an orange-tree of which you could not distinguish the 
minutest part. Seven rows of benches were erected over the grand 
flight of steps which leads into the palace, each containing forty 
performers, the first musicians in the world. Immediately above, at 
the height perhaps of thirty feet, sat the principal officers of state* 
On the leads which cover the colonnade the military guards were 
walking. Bonaparte made his appearance in the centre, where his 
wife had sat some time in company with the other two consuls. I 
expected that the sky would have been rent with acclamations. On 
the contrary, he experienced such a reception as was given to Richard 
the Third. He was sensibly mortified. All bowed, — but he waved 
to and fro, and often wiped his face with his handkerchief He 
retired in about ten minutes." 

Landor's own mortification could hardly have been less than Bona- 
parte's. Not thus had he expected to see the man by whose aston- 
ishing career, up to this turning hour of it, all the world had been 
intbralled ; the hero of Italy, by whom conflicting creeds were to be 
reconciled ; the armed leader of the French Revolution, by whom 
decaying nations were to be regenerated. Was it possible that he in 
whom such hopes had centred could now consent to become but 
another life-tenant of the Tuileries, changing the substance for the 
shadows of greatness 1 In the same year and month when these let- 
ters were written by Landor, that question was sorrowfully put and 
answered by Wordsworth : — 

" I grieved for Bonaparte* with a Tain 
And an unthinking grief ! for who aspires 
To genuine greatness but from just desires, 
Ana knowledge such as he could never gain? " 

Bluntly and characteristically, but to similar effect, Landor wrote 
off to his brother under t(ie immediate influence of what Paris itself 
had shown him ; and it is worthy of note that amid his many changes 
of opinion, the opinion now formed of Napoleon, and of the people 
tinder his rule, was never afterwards materially changed. His point 
of view was not that of Wordsworth, and his wishes and aims were 
different; but he had arrived substantially at the same result 
*' Doubtless the government of Bonaparte," he wrote, " is the best 
that can be contrived for Frenchmen. Monkeys must be chained, 
though it may cost them some grimaces. If you have read atten- 
tively the last senatus-consultum, you will find that not an atom of 
liberty is left. This people, the most inconstant and therefore the 
most contemptible in the world, seemed to have recovered their 
senses when they had lost their freedom. The idol is beyond their 
reach, but the idolatry has vanished. A consul of so great a genius 
will make the nation formidable to all the earth but England ; but I 
hope there is no danger of any one imitating its example. As to the 
cause of liberty, this cursed nation has ruined it forever." What he 

*r. 22-30.] AT PABIS IN 1809, 105 

thus said in his twenty-seventh year he was saying in his eighty- 
seventh, nearly in the same words ; the intervening sixty years hav- 
ing failed to amend or remove the impression thus received in his 

To his sister Elizabeth he described the second occasion when he 
saw Napoleon. It was at a review in the court of the Tuileries, 
when he stood within six or eight yards of him for a quarter of an 
hour. " His countenance," he wrote, " is not of that fierce cast 
which you see in the prints, and which perhaps it may assume in 
battle. He seems melancholy and reserved, but not morose or proud. 
His figure and complexion are nearly like those of Charles N orris. 
He rode a little white horse, about the size of my father's ; and can- 
tered up and down six or eight lines of military, drawn out in the 
court of the Tuileries, which is about the size of Lincoln's Inn Fields. 
Each line lowered its colors as he passed, and he took off his hat in 
return. The French are not mightily civil, and one cannot much 
wonder, — but I got an admirable place by a piece of well-timed flat- 
tery. After I had seen Bonaparte canter by me at the distance of 
about a dozen yards, I left my situation at the window* and went 
down close to the gate of the palace. Presently came the chief con- 
sul and half a score generals. The people made room through fear 
of the horses, which indeed were fierce enough, being covered with 
blue and red velvet, one half of which was hid with gold-lace. In- 
stead of going with the crowd, I pushed forward and got by the side 
of Bonaparte's Mamelouk, in a place where there were none but sol- 
diers. There was a very tall fellow just before me. I begged him to 
let me see Bonaparte, and observed that probably he had seen him 
often and shared his victories. The youth was delighted. Ah I U 
voild^ monsieur I said he ; and in a moment there was nothing be- 
tween me and this terror of Europe but the backs of two horses, 
over which I could see him as distinctly as I see this paper." 

It is doubtful if he saw him again, though he always believed it 
was the fugitive from Waterloo whom he met at Tours thirteen years 
later, when the allied armies were in Paris ; but he remembered to 
the close of his life that first sight of Napoleon ; and his description 
only the year before his death, in conversation with an American 
lady in Florence, is not contradicted by his letter written more than 
sixty years before. " I was in Paris," said Landor one day, "at the 
time that Bonaparte made his entrance as first consuL I was stand- 
ing within a few feet of him when he passed, and had a capital good 
look at him. He was exceedingly handsome then, with a rich olive 
complexion and oval face, youthful as a girl's. Near him rode Murat, 
mounted upon a gold-clad charger ; and very handsome he was too, 
but coxcombical" * 

9 Atlantic Monthly for April, 1866. " I looked with wonder upon a person," says 
the lady who describes these last days of Landor, " who remembered Napoleon 
Bonaparte as a alender young man, and listened with delight to a voice from so 
dim a past." 

106 gebir; and earliest friendships, Sw^aS 

Of the pictures and works of art from Italy then assembled in 
Paris, which next to the hero of Italy interested him most, he also 
wrote to both brother and sister. During the whole of his stay ho 
had passed in general three or four hours of every day in the Louvre, 
and had convinced himself that what was to be seen there could not 
be seen or studied properly in less than three years. Out of so im- 
mense a quantity of works (not less than a thousand, as he reckoned), 
scarcely a dozen had been injured in their transport to Paris, and not 
one beyond repair. Not that more than a fourth or fifth were to be 
counted fairly as the spoils of Italy ; for a great proportion had been 
brought together from the royal palaces, and from the private col- 
lections of the old nobility now wandering in exile. Terrible as the 
shock of the Revolution had been, he wondered to see around him so 
much that was unshaken. The religious houses only appeared to 
him to have suffered irretrievably. Versailles is his perpetual theme 
of wonder and delight. It struck him to be five times as large as 
Warwick Castle. The rooms were incrusted with marble, the gardens 
full of noblest works of statuary, everything magnificent beyond de- 
scription. • At poor Marie Antoinette's petit trianon he had passed 
two days, and fills half a letter to his sister with an account of its 
marvellous beauty and most affecting associations, then fresh with all 
their tragedy. 

But he had also less dignified and agreeable subjects to write about, 
and among them were the hotels and lodgings of Paris. He found 
them three times as dear as in London. He paid four livres a night 
for a miserable bedroom, and for another poor brick-floor apartment 
had to pay a louis a week. But unless you had servants of your own, 
you could not dine at your lodgings ; and when he changed again for 
another hotel, it was the same. Though in that from which he 
wrote there were sixty bedrooms, there was not a fire in the house, 
and he was obliged to put on his shirt as damp as a newspaper from 
the press. Coach hire was another grievance, it having cost him on 
an average six or eight shillings a day ; and altogether he was not 
sorry to find his face turned again towards home. 

On his way back he wrote to his sister of the carriage and cart- 
horses of the country, and a few lines from this letter are worth pre- 

" First I will tell you of those that are used in carriages. Their sides 
are so flat that a whole horse looks like half a one, and their harness is 
nothing but a hundred pieces of rope : such harness is easily repaired. On 
the contrary, the cart-horses are decorated most magnificently. There is a 
high piece of wood above the collar, on which is suspended a sheepskin, 
dyed red or blue. The rest of the body is covered with a net> the meshes 
of which are so large that it serves no purpose but ornament. There is not 
a horse in France that would not give all he is worth to be rid of these 
sheepskins, at least in summer ; but there is no redress. They groan most 
bitterly under the heavy imposition, and I have seen one or two of them 
perform a counter-revolution. Their names are generally Jacob, — at least 
I heard a fellow call two out of three by that name." 


His feeling on finding Himself in England * again was upon the 
whole a healthier one than that with which he quitted it. The 
splendors of the Eepublic had paled. Too many close resemblances 
hod presented themselves between the French cart-horse and the French 
citizen. The meshes woven by the conquests of Napoleon were no 
doubt highly ornamental, but otherwise not of much benefit ; and the 
red sheepskin of military glory was not worth the galling pressure 
of its accompanying " high piece of wood above the collar." One of 
Landor's first acts at his return was to assist in the publication of a 
new edition of his Gebir, produced at Oxford imder his brother's 
direction; and the line which had characterized Bonaparte as "a 
mortal man above all mortal praise, n appeared with a note of very 
large qualification. " Bonaparte might have been so," he now said, 
*' and in the beginning of his career it was augured that he would be. 
But unhappily he thinks that to produce great changes is to perform 
great actions. To annihilate ancient freedom and substitute new ; to 
give republics a monarchical government, and the provinces of mon- 
archy a republican one ; in short, to overthrow by violence all the 
institutions, and to tear from the heart all the social habits of man, 
has been the tenor of his politics to the present hour." Nor did he 
hesitate in another note to declare, while confessing the hopes he had 
indulged of an empire of justice and equality, that in such hopes 
raised from the French Revolution every good man had been disap- 
pointed. " God forbid," he exclaimed, " that we should ever be im- 
pelled to use their means of amelioration, or that our arms should be 
attended by success like theirs, — internal and external subjugation." 


Other literary work he also at this time took in hand. We have 
seen that in the lecture-rooms at Oxford he had made acquaintance 
with the story of the Phocaeans, the invaders of Gaul who built 
Marseilles ; and, struck with its political as well as poetical capabili- 
ties, he now took it for the subject of an epic* But he wanted 
patience for such a design, and in what little he managed to complete 
the politics had not strengthened the poetry. To uphold republics 
and liberty against "Circean soul-dissolving monarchy" was plain 
sailing enough : but commercial enterprise had then some prominent 
features that made not so easy the other part of his design, which 
was to exhibit the superiority of commerce over the greeds of war ; 

• Here is the characteristic close of his last letter to his sister before leaving Paris. 
"How goon the Lambes? Is Mr. Lvttelton well? Has Lord Warwick ran the country? 
Are the Greatheads at Guy's Clin* ? How is Doctor Parr? I wrote to him by Miss 
Ferrers, but he has not answered my letter. I cannot guess the day of the month 
within a fortnight; so I pass it, and remain, &c." In the letter immediately preceding 
he had complained of his purse waxing feeble, telling her how impossible it was to 
live in Paris for a little. " They know an Englishman everywhere, and the extrava- 
gance of a few is a heavy tax on the rest.*' 




108 gebir; and earliest friendships. SSt^sS: 

and not even Bonaparte's offences against freedom were blacker in 
Landor's eyes than the traffic and traffickers in slaves. 

Of the exact time when he took up or laid aside his plan, I cannot 
speak with certainty ; but between the first notion and his execution of 
that part which he published there had come the interval and influence 
of Gebir. Unfortunately it was in some respects more adverse than 
favorable. With the consciousness of power it carried also the sense 
of failure, for as yet even the ten admirers he challenged had not 
come to him. There is a touching admission to this effect in one of 
his letters to Southey in 1809. " I confess to you, if even foolish men 
had read Gebir, I should have continued to write poetry. There is 
something of summer in the hum of insects.'' * He had less care or 
spirit, after such experience, to renew the effort in any finished or 
elaborate form. He rushed at once into print with what he had 
written ; sent it out uncorrected in another sixpenny pamphlet ; and, 
pleading the example of the painter who asked people only to tell 
him his faults, protested that he wished to ascertain not merely 
whether his poetry was good but whether it was wanted. 

The answer now may be given succinctly that it was good and was 
not wanted ; falling dead-born, yet containing what the world should 
not have let perish so indifferently. 1 will quote a few passages to 
show this, the more willingly for having found that 1 had counselled 
Landor not to include the piece in his works when collected twenty 
years ago. Of this one of his letters reminds ma " At college," he 
writes to Mr. Browning, the year before his death and seventy years 
after the time he recalls, " 1 and Stackhouse were examined by the 
college tutor in Justin, who mentions the expulsion of the Phocseans 
from their country. In my childish ambition I fancied I could write 
an epic on it. Before the year's end I did what you see " (a copy of 
the old paper-backed sixpennv pamphlet, printed by Sharp, of War- 
wick, accompanied the letter), "and corrected it the year follow- 
ing. Forster very judiciously omitted it in my printed large volumes, 
but I am persuaded now that it is worth preserving as a curiosity of 
the kind." 

A little also for a better reason. Undoubtedly to the poem as a 
whole, one of its own lines, speaking of a Sardian vase of burnished 

44 Dazzling without, but da* from depth within," 

is only too applicable ; and though between a darkness of this kind and 
the mud that thickens shallow streams there is a difference, and ob- 
scurity will often be really occasioned by depth, a poem is the worst 

* In a later letter (December, 1810) he repeats: " The poptdari* atiro, though we are 
ashamed or unable to analyze it, is requisite for the health and growth of genius. Had 
Gebir been a worse poem, but with more admirers, and I had once filled my sails, I 
should have made many, and perhaps some prosperous voyages. There is almost as 
much vanity in disdaining the opinion of the world as in pursuing it. In the one case 
we are conscious of possessing dignity; in the other we basely serpentine (gic) to obtain 
it. This is indeed a difference, and one worth knowing in the outset" 


form one can find it in. On its surface, nevertheless, as in the Sar- 
dian vase, there will be beauties telling with all the more dazzling 
prominence for that defect ; and though without the wonderful charm 
of Gebir, there are in the little tract that contained the Phocceans 
things more masterly than in any other poetical writing of that day 
In the prayer to the Gods to " strengthen with new stars the watery 
way n ; in the invocation to the Powers " whose silent orbs control 
the balanced billows of the boundless sea " ; and in the picture of 
the Destinies intent upon their loom, unoccupied " with aught 
beyond its moody murmuring sound " ; single lines of unusual power 
and expressiveness occur, and I may instance especially those two in 
which a political creed held by the young poet to the last is tersely 
slated : " I deem it first of human miseries To be a tyrant ; then, to 
suffer one." The same condensed meaning is in the preference 
avowed for a country struggling hard with tyranny over one where 
u Power o'er slaves was freedom and was ' rights,' And man degraded 
could but man degrade." 
These will be admired : — 

44 But when the God 
Himself, resistless Neptune, struck one blow, 
Rent were the rocks asunder, and the sky 
Was darkened with their fragments ere they fen." 

And here, worthy to be placed beside them, is the first fight of the 
island invaders : — 

" We dash from every pinnace, and present 
A ridge of arms above a ridge of waves. 
Now push we forward; now the fight, like fire, 
Closes and sapes and gathers and extends. 
Swords clash, shields clang; spears whir athwart the sky, 
And distant helmets drop like falling stars.** 

Another picture may accompany this, — one of war's attendant 

horrors : — 

M From wakened nest, and pinion silence-poised, 
The huge vulture drop rebounding: first he fears; 
Looks round; draws back; half lifts his cowering wing; 
Stretches his ruffled neck and rolling eye, 
Tastes the warm blood, and flickers for the foe.** 

Other lines will show the frequent reflective beauty that sets off 
r this vivid picturesqueness of writing : — 

" — Those who living filled the smallest space 
In death have often left the greatest void. 
When from his dazzling sphere the mighty falls, 
Hen, proud of showing interest in his fate, 
Bun to each other, and with oaths protest 
/How wretched and how desolate they are. 
The good departs, and silent are the good.*' 

Again : from the smaller pieces in the same tract : — 

" In his own image the Creator made, 

His own pure sunbeam quickened thee, man I 
Thou breathing dial ! Since thy day began 
The present hour was ever markt with shade 1 " 


110 gebir; and earliest friendships. ^.^ 

Whatever else may be alleged of Landor's style, there is nothing 
weak or pompous about it ; flaccid or turgid lines — the certain sign 
of inferior work — do not occur ; and there are no gaspings for breath. 
His word answers always to his thought ; and the movement of his 
verse, sustained at the level of his fancy and language, takes its 
music from both. Passages quite perfect in themselves stand out in 
this way from his compositions, even when otherwise least successful. 
It is indeed his defect too often to treat particular things with an ex- 
cess of vividness, by which the general level of his work is placed at 
disadvantage. Impetuosity, want of patience, is as bad in literature 
as in life ; and it was his very power of putting rapidly and visibly on 
his page what he saw himself with astonishing vividness, that, for 
want of certain links' of connection, dropped in his eagerness as of no 
account but very necessary to the enjoyment of his readers, gave oc- 
casional obscurity to a style in itself transparently clear. This re- 
mark is made in connection with the poems under notice, because, in 
reviewing them, the stanch and as yet almost solitary friend of 
Gebir justified on this ground a little wavering from the allegiance he 
so generously and loyally had proffered to its writer, the young poet 
still even by name unknown to him. 

Southey's article appeared in what was called the Annual Review* 
a " history of literature " just set up by Doctor Aikin, which happily 
for Southey had not a very long life ; the wage for which he was 
laboring at it being so low that he must have struck work if it had 
not by starving its authors starved out itself, At this time it hap- 
pened that William Taylor, of Norwich, had great influence over 
Southey, and had been doing his best to laugh him out of his idolatry 
of Gebir. Great at the derivation of words, he declared it to have 
been aptly so named, " quasi gibberish " ; and Southey, though by no 
means abandoning his own opinion, was uneasy at the adverse opinion 
of his friend. Reviewing the new poem, he admits that the story of 
the former had been related in language so involved and difficult that 
few could penetrate its meaning ; and that they who did might per- 
haps have overrated its merits in proportion to the difficulty they had 
overcome in discovering them. Still he protested its merits to be 
of most uncommon excellence ; and that though the mine was dark 
and the ore deep, there was ore of priceless value. But he did not 
find the second effort equal to the first, or that the five intervening 
years had matured the taste of the author, whoever he might be. 
Somebody,t he added, had said of Gebir that its thoughts were con- 
nected by flea-skips of association ; but Gebir was lucid compared with 

* Published by Longman and Rees, 1802: we Vol. I. p. 668. 

t It was William Taylor** remark. I quote from a letter to Southey in which he 
speaks of Gebir. •• There are exquisitely nne parage*, but they succeed each other by 
such flea-skip* of association that I am unable to track the path of the author's mind, 
and verily suspect him of insanity. But as he makes his appeal to a jury of geniuses, 
I am sure of being challenged, and my opinion can be of no consequence.' It is not the 
verdict of the panel." From him too had come the allusion to Valerius Flaccus, also 
used by Southey at the close of his notice. See ante, p. 66. 



the Phocceans. At the same time Southey defined the obscurity, not 
quite truly but not unfairly, as arising from a passion for compres- 
sion ; pointing out that this might be carried so far as to become a 
mere short-hand, reminding a writer of his own conceptions but never 
explaining them to others. In short, with much complimentary ad- 
mission as to the few passages which he had found to be intelligible, 
Southey's verdict was adverse to Poetry by the Author of Gebir. 

Fortunately Landor never knew this, or that his earliest critical 
friend had ever momentarily faltered in allegiance to him ; but the 
remarks on Gebir** obscurity, supposed to have been Doctor Aikin's, 
were not without their influence. The author had lately taken lodg- 
ings at Oxford to be near his brother Robert, who was in residence at 
Worcester College ; and the fruit of their deliberation was the publi- 
cation, after not many months, of an edition of Gebir now rarely to be 
met with, accompanied not only by a Latin version of it, the Gebirus, 
but by prose arguments to each book in both languages, with notes 
of explanation to the passages supposed to be most obscure. I must 
add, however, that even this concession provoked no kindly return ; 
that in his handsome coat Gebir fared no better than in his homely 
one ; and thai the brothers, impatient of the refusal of the critics to 
take further notice of their labors, went soon after into the critical 
line on their own account. 

Mr. Robert Landor's letters have informed me pleasantly as to these 
matters. " Even the first edition of Gebir was followed speedily by 
little unbound publications of which I cannot remember correctly 
either the order or the titles. The Phocaans, the commencement of 
an epic poem, various Latin verses, and English verses, filling no more 
than a few pages, a little volume of Icelandic poems, suggested by 
Mr. Herbert's success, but nothing in prose that I can remember be- 
fore the first two volumes of his Imaginary Conversation*, except a 
few pages on Primitive Sacrifices. I often tried to dissuade him from 
such diminutive works, or rather scraps, as betraying too much im- 
patience, and as excusing the public neglect. They were read by a 
few personal friends only, and only one of them was noticed in a Re- 
view. I am not unwilling that you should smile at my expense, 
knowing how tolerant you are. When there were no magazines ex- 
cepting the Gentleman's, young aspirants to literature could try their 
pretensions nowhere else so safely as in the Reviews. The Edinburgh 
and Quarterly, a little later, were accessible only to a few of higher 
pretensions and qualities better ascertained. For the rest it was not 
at all necessary that they should have any knowledge of the subjects 
about which they wrote. They placed themselves as doctors learned 
in literary law. They took their seats on the judge's bench before 
they had prepared themselves by their studies for the bar. It was 
necessary to assume great dignity and authority ; a compassionate or 
contemptuous treatment of the culprits trembling before them was 
necewaiy; but learning, wisdom, and experience were not necessary. 


Excepting that my conscience acquits me of any wish to give pain, or 
of any malignant .pleasure in tormenting my betters, such a critic 
was II — a professional critic I — a reviewer 1 My first article was 
on Walter's Iceland tale of Gunlaug and Hdga, — very confident in 
its patronage indeed*! Walter was delighted ; and both of us laughed 
at the imposture. The Oxford Review broke down after the first three 
or four numbers ; and my conscience is the more easy as I had con- 
tributed only two or three articles, conceited enough but not malig- 
nant. Up to this time there had, I think, been no notice of my 
brother's publications since that by Southey of Gebir. But Walter's 
impatience under such unmerited neglect was betrayed by repeated 
and very contemptuous challenges offered both to critics and authors, 
in little publications which were never read by either. Then, as at a 
later age, he seemed equally enraged by the public neglect, and dis- 
dainful of its notice." 

The best of those little " Icelandic " poems being accessible still 
in the printed works, nothing more need be said of it here, except that 
it appears to have been suggested to Landor by a letter from Birch, 
his favorite and friend at Rugby. 


Several of Birch's letters had been kept by his school-fellow, and 
some of them bear date shortly before the latter, by Doctor Landor's 
death, became master of the Staffordshire estate : his mother continu- 
ing life-tenant of Ipsley Court and Tachbrooke. They are hardly of 
a kind to justify publication, but they show with what anxiety at 
that particular time this true friend was looking forward to the future 
which lay before the companion of his boyhood. 

None of the figures of that distant past seems to recur with kind- 
lier association to Mr. Robert Landor's memory. Before the latter 
went up to Oxford, Birch had a fellowship at Magdalen, and he had 
become tired of Oxford life and quitted it for a tutorship before Mr. 
Robert Landor had obtained his own fellowship. But during the 
whole of his undergraduate career he had the advantage of companion- 
ship and counsel from this friend of his brother's, and in his letters 
he speaks of him with the utmost tenderness. " Walter often visited 
me," he says, " when travelling between Warwick, London, Bristol, or 
South Wales; and he eagerly renewed his intercourse with Birch, 
whom I had not seen till then. Here was an instance of friendship 
which is so often formed between men as unlike each other as possible 
in every other particular excepting a single pursuit. Birch was gentle, 
quiet, unassuming, very tolerant of other men's opinions though suf- 
ficiently consistent in the maintenance of his own, an earnest Chris- 
tian, a sincere churchman, and — O Mr. Forster ! — rather too much 
inclining to Toryism. Walter was a black Jacobin. I very soon 
acquired the title, in my own college, of Citizen Landor, — and even 

JBT. 22— 3<X] WALTER BIEOH. 113 

the Citizen, as being the only republican there. But Birch loved 
Walter and smiled at me. Walter used to speak of his friend's 
maiden modesty, which extended beyond his morals.* Perhaps this 
wide difference between them kept both parties silent on graver 
subjects : both feeling unwilling to quarrel, and knowing how ir- 
reconcilable were their opinions. Yet Birch often checked Walter's 
extravagant language by his laughter ; and once he asked me how it 
could have happened that my brother should have met accidentally 
so many ladies, in an evening's walk or two with him and me, every 
one of whom was incomparably the most beautiful creature whom he 
had ever seen 1 how each of twenty fools could be by much the great* 
est fool upon earth 1 and, above all, how Mr. Pitt could be the greatest 
rascal living, if Mr. Canning surpassed Mr. Pitt, and Lord Castlereagh 
surpassed Mr. Canning, and all three were infinitely exceeded as brutes 
and fools by their gracious sovereign King George the Third 1 " One 
may discover in Birch's few remaining letters not a little of this hu- 
morous sense of his friend's ludicrous excesses of speech, at once 
suggested and in its expression subdued by personal regard of an un- 
common kind, and in no way abating an almost passionate admira- 
tion given eagerly to Lander's genius and scholarship. 

The earliest in date is one of April, 1805, which, after telling him 
of a publication by Mr. William Herbert of translations of Icelandic 
sonnets and of some original pieces that he thinks would interest him 
by the accurate information contained in the notes and by the spirit 
of the poetry, proceeds to say in the next sentence : " Our friend Cary 
of Christ Church published about a month ago a translation of the 
Inferno of Dante, which 1 am just about to read. 1 anticipate con- 
siderable pleasure from it. 1 hear already that it sells well." t Ex- 
actly fifty-seven years had passed after this when Landor, writing to 
Mr. Lytton J of Birch himself and of their school-fellow the translator 
of Dante, adds in the very next sentence : " We have another admi- 
rable translator in William Herbert. I owe my Gunlaug to his 
stories from the Icelandic. How incomparably better this northern 
poetry than that of the Troubadours ! The Icelandic seems to be a 
softer language than theirs, which is highly praised by people who 
surely never read it ; for it is excessively harsh, and much resembles 
the Genoese. The Gauls could never scale the heights of Parnassus 

• u At school," Landor writes in one of his letters to me, w Birch was named Sandy 
from the sobriety of his manners, — h+Ji different from mine ! " 

t In the memoir of Cary by his son 0847) will be found letters from Birch confirma- 
tory of the character here given, and showing with what unbounded affection Cary 
regarded him. On the birth of tnat son (1797) he addressed a sonnet to Birch, whicn 
closes thus: — 

" For if some fairy bade me take the boon 
That most I covet for my darling child, 
Though all my wandering wishes I might send 
In search of every bliss beneath the moon, 
Yet should I most desire thy wisdom mild, 
Thy pure and open heart, my honored friend." I. 96. 
\ See oefe, p. 14. 


114 gebir; and bablibbt friendships. 2j£*iS 


since Apollo drove them down with thunder and lightning." A word 
dropped by accident, unconsciously awakening some association of tho 
past, had again connected the names in the old man's memory. 

Very frequently Birch alludes to the Gebims. His friend continu- 
ing to press him for any remarks it might have suggested in the 
reading to so fine a Latin scholar, Birch retorts that he is only a 
scholar as his old school-fellow is a master ; that his objection to criti- 
cism in such a case is the presumption of it ; and that he has but to 
think of past days at Rugby and Oxford to know the little reason he 
should have, by comparison with his friend, " for confidence in his 
critical sagacity and still more in his grammatical accuracy." In 
vain does his friend encourage him to greater confidence by sending 
him a list of faults he has himself already discovered : Birch thinks 
.unobjectionable several of the passages named, and says (what is 
quite true of the Gebirus) that not one of them to which objection 
might be taken on strictly classical grounds is without beauty of 
another kind more than compensating. In fine, says Birch : " I have 
come to the conclusion, after repeated reading of the Gebirus, that my 
knowledge of poetical latinity is much more confined than yours, and. 
that a more extensive and habitual study of the Latin poets has 
made you even more accurate than I can pretend to be." 

Another subject of discussion in their letters is pastoral poetry, as 
to which some of Landor's opinions, though far from exhaustive in 
the matter, are expressed with vigor and liveliness. His point is 
that in pastoral poetry, though apparently the easiest of any, none 
since the ancients had succeeded ; and though he does scant justice 
to Thomson, a man not more lovable for his character than for his 
writings, what he says has truth at the bottom of it, and he was 
always proud of what he thought he had himself accomplished in 
this field by the episode of Tamar. 

"The Germans strain themselves into agony. Their shepherds toss 
about, and toil and sweat like drovers. Yet their woods are more roman- 
tic than woods in theatric scenery, and their fields more gaudily flowered 
than Wilton carpets. You are tired, and you would turn ; but turn wher- 
ever you will, you are caught either in tears or in flames. In our own 
country (I omit the puerilities of Pope and Phillips) there is Thomson. 
His characters have all a ridiculous mixture of the modern and the antique. 
There is the flaunting dress and high-colored bloom that the spruce appren- 
tice on a Sunday evening admires m a Birmingham housemaid. Whenever 
he rises, he rises by violent efforts, — whj^i show less of fervid and vigor- 
ous imagination than of impatient languor and sickly restlessness. He was 
however a most amiable man, and there are many great beauties in his 
works ; though he never was at all successful in the delineation of charac- 
ter. His verses make one pant in reading them ; which is owing to their 
structure, not to what they convey. He was too happy to know anything 
of the passions. In fine, we have nothing in common with pastoral life ; 
while even the highest of the ancients had much. Our modes of address 
are different; our habits, our inclinations. They had a nerve more than we 
have. Ours is polish ; theirs, poetry. We succeed in proportion as we re- 
move ourselves from home, particularly in pastoral.'* 

JET. 22 -3a] WALTER BIRCH. 115 

Of the kind of life Landor was leading at this time, while his 
father's health had been declining, the letters give various indications. 
He was far exceeding the income put aside for him. Already indeed 
Doctor Landor has had to sell some property in discharge of debts con- 
tracted by him ; and in return he had undertaken to present his brother 
Charles to the family living of Colton, in the event of its not falling 
vacant before his father's death. Though supposed to be mainly 
resident in Bath or Bristol, or in Wales, he was very frequently in 
London. Birch goes at his particular request to see a horse he has 
set his mind upon ; * congratulates him on the acquisition of a 
Titian ; and is able, by lucky purchase of his own at a broker's near 
Cavendish Square, to add to his friend's collection a "grand old 
head." f In one of his letters Birch expatiates on the pleasure he 
has had in Landor's description of the lofty aims he is cherishing, and 
in the next but one sends him urgent remonstrance against his 
unnecessarily brooding over calamities. You discover from one of 
the letters that these calamities are connected with money; and 
from another that a princely gift is nevertheless ready for " the col- 
lection made lately in Christ Church to the amount of sixty pounds " 
in aid of the author of the Pleasures of Hope. There are questions 
in politics where it is plain enough that the friends are in imperfect 
sympathy ; but even Birch could hardly have refused a smile to one 
of his friend's epigrams upon the common talk then spreading itself 
abroad as to the Prince of Wales and his doings. 

u First Carlton House, my country friend, 
And then the playhouse you should see; 
Here comedies in marriage' end, 
There marriages in tragedy." J 

One political subject there was, however, on which Landor found 
himself now in agreement with his Tory friend, as with most English- 
men who oared much for England In truth a powerful independent 

• "The horse is not Tory handsome, but can go seventy miles in a day: only five 
years old: I have told Charles to write and buy it. What livery-stables shall it be 
sent to, if we can get it for you? " 

t "I do not fully assure myself you will like it, being aware that in matters of this 
sort (nor do I mean to limit the assertion there) your taste is much more penetrating 
and exact than ray own. . . . You would deserve an opprobrious title," he adds, reply- 
ing to a remark or Landor's, " if you dared become a renegade from the Muse after 
having enjoyed so large a portion of her favor." In the same letter he speaks very 
affectionately of Mr. Robert Landor, and with great respect of the opinion of their 
brother Henry. 

X From a satirical poem of earlier date, suppressed at the entreaty of Birch, I take a 
couple of stanzas for the sake of some personal allusions in them. * It purported to be 
an address to the fellows of his old college in Oxford upon their preparations against 
Bonaparte's threatened invasion: — 

" Still, bred in your college, though no longer in it. I 
Send ye health and fraternity, fellows of Trinity f 
Through haste to salute you, the feet of my doggerel 
Like a drunken or down-hill and devil-drove hog reel. 
Take me for your leader: you have not forgot 
That your most humble servant was once a good *kot! 
Though ye dreaded, but dreaded without rhyme or reason, 
He haply might turn his fine talents to treason." 

116 gebib: and earliest friendships. E2?^JI- 


party having its root in the higher middle class, indifferent for the 
most part to the home quarrels of the leading statesmen, and caring' 
as little for the combinations of Addington and Pitt, or Fox and tlie 
Grenvilles, as for the foolish exclusiveness of the king, had been 
lately reanimating and strengthening the armed resistance to France. 
The previous year, which brought Pitt back into office, had made the 
first consul emperor and launched against England the fleets of 
France and Spain. But Nelson was again afloat, and the hope of all 
that was best in England turned upon him. In verses that have not 
survived, Landor had given expression to this confidence in the hero ; 
and almost simultaneously with the news of Trafalgar the poem 
reached his friend, whose acknowledgment of it in a letter dated the 
11th November, 1805, is all that now remains to indicate what it was. 

" I thank you for your letter and animated verses, where you seem to 
have been inspired by the prophetic spirit ascribed to poets of old, and to 
have anticipated the glorious victory of Nelson, the news of which had 
reached me just before I received them. I hope and trust the emotions 
which that unparalleled achievement must have excited in your mind, sig- 
nalized as it was yet more by the fall of the hero, by the magnificent close 
of the most brilliant naval career in all history, will not be suffered to sub* 
side till they have assumed a shape and a form fas I well know they may t ) 
which it would be injustice to yourself and tne public to withhold from 
their applause. The news of another considerable victory has arrived this 
very morning. What a blow to the projects of that insatiable ambition, 
that restless and enterprising spirit, which, avowedly grasping at maritime 
as well as continental pre-eminence, was enlarging its views to universal 
empire ! Already, in the sanguine anticipation of Frenchmen, was Bona- 
parte become another Jove, and the affairs of our little planet dependent 
on his nod I Has not this now passed forever ? The meridian is reached, 
and will he not hasten to his setting ? G-od grant it I " 

He closes the same letter by telling Landor that their friend Cary 
has finished, and is about to send out, in small octavo, the second 
volume of his translation of Dante, which, he adds, " considering its 
very close adherence to the original, seems to me more elegant than 
I could easily have conceived." In the same letter he notices also 
the publication of Scott's Lay and Southey's Modoc ; saying he has 
read both, and that though he believes it does not agree with the 
general sentiment he will yet venture to say that he far prefers 
Southey. But he thinks Southey's fault is diffusion, just as the 
friend to whom he is writing has the grander defect of compression, 
the excess in the other extreme, — an excellent remark, in which lay 
much of the secret, never perfectly known to himself, of Southey's 
singular passion for Landor's poetry. It was an ideal he was always 
aiming at, and missing ; and in proportion as he found himself still 
falling short of it, his admiration increased. 

During the period of these letters this amiable and accomplished 
person was living as tutor in the family of an English earl. " He 
seems, 1 ' writes Mr. Robert Landor, " to have grown tired of a college 

JET. 22 -3a] WALTER BIBOH. 117 

life since the departure of bo many friends from Oxford ; and he 
undertook the tuition of a youth in one of our most wealthy and 
noble houses. Walter learnt some particulars of his residence there, 
certainly not from himself.* Birch resigned his office before the 
education of his pupil had been completed, greatly to their regret. 
Some attachment had arisen between himself and a daughter of this 
family, — whether it was mutual, or on which side it was strongest, is 
not known. But Birch was much too honorable and conscientious 
for its encouragement, and therefore retired on a small college living. 
I cannot understand how any disengaged lady could live in daily in- 
tercourse with such a man — for he was very handsome too — and 
remain insensible to such amiability. Walter even believed that his 
friend's own heart was concerned, and had heard additions to the 
story which 1 fancy were quite apocryphal. I suspect that Walter 
may here have confounded the history of Birch's friend Russell, who 
left us only two sonnets, dying of a broken heart, with some such 
narrative, heard imperfectly and easily believed, of his own friend." 
In the only allusions to the family I find in Birch's letters, unusually 
strong regard appears, and very marked expressions of respect ; nor 
does it seem otherwise probable that any romantic ending to the little 
love-story was contributed by himself, for he married and had chil- 
dren, surviving it a score of years ; but the mention of it can now 
give pain to no one, and what may be accepted for truth in it is 
characteristic and worthy of Landor?s favorite school-fellow. 

" I sincerely sympathize with you," he wrote to Landor on the 
Christmas day of 1805, " in your regret for the loss of your father, 
though his previous state certainly rendered it desirable to himself, 
and on that account should make it less afflicting to his family." t 

* Of about this date I find the subjoined hendecasyllabics, true in every point to the 
character of his friend, as expressed' in the preceding pages : — 

" Promisi mihi, Birchb, non tacere 
Ut florens stndiis bonis juventa 
TJtque sancta virilis esset aetas 
Prae cunctis tibi ; sed parura Oamenas 
Felices habeo, inchoans honores 
Guos tantis mentis parare vellem: 
Nam dolore mednllitas peresns 
Sum doloribns optiml sodalis. 
Possum hoc dicere,. verum, at indisertum 
Claras ingenio, lepore, cultu, 
Doctus, nee nisi in optimis librorum, 
£s quicquid cuperet quis esse natum, 
Desperans sibi, dirTerensve tantum 
Et paulisper in otium remittens 
Ut nil proposito accidat molestum. 
Es talis quia vir puerque, Birchb, 
Kullo tempore crastinus fuisti." 

t Doctor Landor died at the close of 1806, but had been ailing all that year. I quote 
• letter of Lander's to his brother Henry dated in February, which mentions his fa- 
ther's anxiety at the time to complete the settlement of his property. But I quote it also 
for its closing allusions to Parr, nis old schoolmaster James, and nis own Latin verses, 
in which the evident and eageT interest contrasts amusingly with the careless tone or 
request about the property, which his brother is to explain when he has leisure. " My 

118 gebie; and earliest friendships. ^.^ 

At the close of the letter there is a mention of their Rugby days in 
connection with a youth who had there been fag to Landor, and to 
both of them since not a little troublesome. With a wise thoughtful- 
ness Birch warns his friend against the dangers, in the new position 
that awaits him, of indiscriminating kindness. 

The remark warns me that here closes the period of Landor's life 
over which any kind of external restraint or control was possible ; 
and that now opens "that part of his history/' 1 am quoting his 
brother's language to me, " which followed our father's death and the 
sale of his Staffordshire property, and which appears like an exagger- 
ation of the improbabilities of a dream." But before finally quit* 
ting the period which these two opening books include, I will let him 
speak another word for himself upon his Rugby days. Its proper 
place was earlier in the narrative ; but before I found the letter to 
me containing it, that portion of my book was printed off; and, as it 
confirms and explains what formerly was said* of the cause of his 
departure from Rugby, gives his little fag a pleasanter word than 
Birch could afford him in the letter last quoted, and supplies another 

father tells me that ( he supposes you have informed me of his having conveyed to me 
the house my uncle lives in, and the two next, Godwin's and John Holt's.' I do not 
comprehend this, nor see the necessity of any such conveyance. Explain it when vou 
have leisure. My poor father seems to take it for granted that my uncle will die before 
him ; for he says, When my brother dies, I would recommend to vou to sell them, and 
think that they would be a most desirable purchase to the proprietors of the Forge,' 
&c. I have often thought so too; but I am inclined also to think that these people 
would give as much for about one half of the garden with the paddock, as another per- 
son would for the whole of the premises. I am surprised that Sir George Baker, who 
writes remarkably good and graceful Latin, should not have been able to make Inglis's 
stuff show better than it does. But the Latin for inscriptions is widely different from 
that which is read at schools, and perhaps Sir George B. may not be versed in it. No 
man upon earth knows it so well as our friend at Hatton. It was a great disappoint- 

have often retouched them since. Send them to the Doctor [Parr]. I mean my copy, 
as I have taken uncommon pains with the words and punctuation^' &c. A portion of 
the verses, on his personal relations with his old master, will perhaps, alter what has 
been said of those Rugby days, have an interest for the reader: — 

" Vale, magister! Jamese, ave et vale! 
Tu dum vocabas septus flevi puer, 
Versans, minatum ubi maxime est periculum, 
Inefficaces, algidus metu, manus; 
Nunc, dum voco ipse nee refers contra, fleo. 
At hostis olim tu mihi tibique ego . . . 
Qui meque teque jam videntes crederent? 
Ah cur reductis abnuebas naribus, 
Spectans refrigeransaue lnvo lumine, 
Cul primum amicus ingenuusque omnis puer 
Et cui secundum ipse semulus daret locum? 
Sed hano habebis, nanc habebo, gratiam, 
Quum carmine istorum excidas, vives meo. 
Nam nee severus semper aut supercill 
Tristis, nee inficetus aut expers salts, 
Sed comis indulgensque vel nostro joco 
Eras, solutis jam sendee oompagibus." 

* See oHfe, p. 18. 

iCT. 22- 3a] WALTEB BIRCH. 119 

varied and vivid pattern of the mingled yarn of which the web of 
every part of his own life was made, it will not now be out of place. 
At the date of the letter we had been corresponding about an Eton 
boy's cruelty to his fag, which the newspapers had got hold of and 
were sharply reproving. 

" When I wrote about the cruelty of the Eton boy I had not for- 
gotten a lighter case at Rugby. With what pleasure and even pride 
do I recall to memory that I was the first of that school who paid the 
lad he fagged. Poor little B. H. had three or four bottles to fill at 
the pump in a hard frost, and was crying bitterly, when I took pity 
on him and made him my fag, at threepence a week, I think. This 
exempted him from obedience to others, and I seldom exercised my 
vested rights. Perhaps the head master, James, thought it an innova- 
tion to pay. He certainly hated me for my squibs, and had also 
threatened to expel me for never calling Will Hill Mister; I having 
told him I never would call Hill or any other Mister unless I might 
call the rest so. At last he wrote to my father that I was rebellious 
and incited others to rebellion ; and unless he took me away he 
should be obliged (' much to his sorrow ') to expel me. As I was 
within five of the head, and too young for Oxford, I was placed under 
a private tutor and matriculated at seventeen. Among my enor- 
mities was writing the verses I now send you. James had chosen 
some of my worst verses to play for, as we called it : that is, every 
half-holiday was supposed to be gained for the lads by the best verses 
of the day. Mine were always the best, but, out of malice I am 
afraid, the very worst of them were chosen ; and this was my re- 

Of the extent of it, far exceeding the precisely similar instance re- 
ferred to in a former page,* the reader must happily be left igno- 
rant, the accompanying Alcaic verses not admitting of translation. 
But what they show of a man's intellect in youth entirely without 
guidance or control, the letter recalling them not less strikingly 
shows of the passions and impulses of youth surviving to extreme 
old age; and it will be well to take this double consideration with us 
into the years we have now to retrace. 

• Anu, p. is. 



1805-1814. JEt. 30-89. 


I. Life at Bath. — IL Robert Southey. — III. First Letters to Southey. — IV. In 
Spain. — V. Letters to Southey on Spain and Spaniards. — VI. Letters on 
Kehama and Roderick. — VII. The Tragedv of Count Julian. — VIII. In 
Possession of the Abbey. — IX. Marriage and life at Llanthony. — X. Pub- 
lic Afiairs. — XL Private Disputes. — XII. Departure from England. 


In the interval that immediately followed his succession to the 
paternal estate, Landor lived chiefly in Clifton or at Bath ; and at the 
latter place his younger brother found him, soon after their father's 
death, " with the reputation of very great wealth, and the certainty, 
at his mother's death, of still greater. A fine carriage, three horses, 
two ' men-servants, books, plate, china, pictures, in everything a pro- 
fuse and wasteful outlay, all confirmed the grandeur. n Upon the 
whole not a life, for such a man, either profitable then to have lived 
or now to recall ; and very little here shall be said of it Some love- 
verses connected with the later portion of it can also afford to perish. 
Their heroine, Ion4, who translated far too easily into Jones, has re- 
tained not so much as a fragment of romance. Even of his Ianthe, 
to whom in these days much beautiful and tender verse was dedi- 
cated, there is little how remaining to claim a place in my story 
except such chance allusion as hereafter may drop from himself. 

The sort of life thus led in Bath, however, could not be passed 
without results more or less grave ; and in little more than a year 
they showed themselves in a form for which the remedy was supposed 
to have been found in a project for Belling the old paternal estate in 
Staffordshire, and reinvesting in other land at greater profit Reserv- 
ing these things to a year or two hence, when the necessary arrange- 
ments, meanwhile set on foot, became practicable and were completed, 
I shall dwell upon those incidents only of the intervening years out 
of which matter can be extracted that is worth remembering, or that 
throws any kind of light upon the variable career and character of 
which, with all its good and evil so capriciously intermixed, its 
comedy and tragedy, its clouds and sunshine, its generous emotions 
and tempestuous passions, its use and its waste of prodigious powers, 
it is my object in these pages to convey at the least no false impres- 

JET. 30-39.] LIFE AT BATH. 121 

Remembering allusions formerly made* to the wife of a friend 
yerj dear to him in early Warwick days, it will be proper not to omit 
the mention of her death, which occurred at this time. It should be 
given for such evidence as it affords that, amid his present daily and 
nightly round of "routs, plays, concerts, and balls, n his heart was 
jet easily moved as ever, and keen in its susceptibility of suffering. 
The young wife of the physician who had succeeded to his father's 
practice in Warwick, the " angel " of his early letters, died so sudden- 
ly that he had not even heard of her illness, and now first read of it 
in a newspaper. Her infant daughter and herself had died together. 
" Poor Laxnbe, poor Lambe," he writes to Parr, at whose house the 
friends had so often met : — 

14 Poor little Elizabeth and her mother, now indeed divine ! Yes, death 
fcas proved the fact, and not the contrary. For what is death ? A change 
of situation, an enlargement of liberty, a privilege, a blessing, an apotheosis. 
What hours have we passed together, hours never to return, or to produce 
their likeness in this world ! In vain have I tried every species of amuse- 
ment: routs, plays, concerts, and balls. Her image rises up everywhere 
before me. I sicken at the sight of beauty. Did she not treat me as a 
brother ? did she ever call me by more than one name ? The sound of 
Walter was the sweetest of sounds. Pardon me, I will acknowledge it, 
she made me think myself a virtuous and great man. Certainly I never 
left her company but I was more happy and more deserving of happiness." 

The same unmistakable sorrow is expressed to his sister Elizabeth, 
one of his letters to her ending thus : — 

" It was a shock from which I have not yet recovered, and which I shall 
feel, I believe, forever. 

" O Lambe, my early guide, my guardian friend, 
Do thus our pleasures, thus our prospects end! 
All that could swell thy heart, thy soul elate, 
Heaven gave, but pondering found one gift too great 
What now avails thee, what availed thee then, 
To shine in science o'er the sons of men ; 
Each varying plant, each tortuous root to know, 
What latent pests from lucid waters flow; 
All the deep bosom of the Air contains, 
Fire's parent strength and Earth's o'erflowing veins? 
The last unwelcome lesson teaches this, 
Frail are alike our knowledge and our bliss. 
Against the storms of fate and throbs of pain 
Wisdom is impotent and virtue vain." t 

His eldest sister was his constant correspondent at this time, and 
would have saved him from many a folly if cleverness and good sense 
could have done it. But he was no sooner out of one scrape than he 
*as into another. " The battledore you talk of," he replies from Bath 
to one' of her letters, " is called a cornet, and I play at it better than 
any man in England. I was taught in Frances A little girl said to 
me, Jouez 'done aux comets, monsieur t My reply was, A la bonne 

* jinto, pp. 88, 90, &c 

t A portion of these verses (without the last two) win be round with variations in 
his published poems. 



heure, ma petite. Je ne me $ui$ pete marie* a present. I played, never 
theless, and have played the same game since. I believe I am morl 
in request here than I have ever been ; not for myself, — for we an 
not, like wine, improvable by age, — but for Frolic and Favorite 
and what is whispered of Llanthony." Frolic and Favorite were hii 
carriage-horses. He ends his letter with a parable of a young ladj 
whom a spectre was reported to have visited at night, until her motlier 
by taking her to sleep in her own room, exorcised the ghost, to whici 
he had himself thereupon addressed these lines : — 

" Thou, since she sleeps with her mamma, 
Looket lite a fox in some ha-ha, 
Who views, with nostrils opened wide, 
A pheasant on the other side, 
Pants, grumbles, whines with lank desires, 
And Ucks his whiskers, and retires ! " 

Very well for the ghost that he could ; but some enterprises there 
were out of which retirement was less easy, and they largely occupy 
his sister Elizabeth's letters. She is in a perpetual agitation of 
warning against any ill-advised marriage, one danger of this kind 
succeeding another very rapidly. She has indeed no objection to a 
well-considered proceeding of the sort ; and sketches one in the lan- 
guage of an old servant who has come with her annual gift of a 
basket of chickens to the family at Warwick, and has declared her- 
self " anackauntable glad Mr. Walter is growing jolly, and hopes he 
will marry some fine lady of a good family and fortin, as he ought, to 
be sure." Not that to the sister these appear indispensable, if their 
place is otherwise filled. " Birth and fortune," she tells her brother, 
" are not requisites, but good disposition and good understanding are ; 
and how many innocents, only for being pretty, have you all your 
life been thinking sensible ! " That was a home-thrust, and had some 
effect, the lady against whom in particular it was aimed not retaining 
her influence ; but one of these affairs had gone very far before any- 
thing of it was known to her, and she has almost to resign herself to 
the confession that it must be. " I hope to God your choice may be 
a fortunate one, for I never was and never shall be happy when you 
are otherwise. You are not just to me. I do wish you to be mar- 
ried ; but I am sure the common sort are not calculated for you." 

Happily escape came again ; and in this case from the lady herself. 
Some offence had been taken by her, not clearly to be made out from 
Landor's letter, which dwells far less on the incident itself than upon 
the ball and supper where it happened, with its winter pines, peas, 
strawberries, and " sparagus," besides ice enough to cover the Nieper 
and beauty enough to thaw it all. To which his sister quietly re- 
joins that she hears with delight of his being again heart-free ; makes 
neat allusion to the lady's predecessor as well as herself, 4>y remark- 
ing that their friend " the old doctor " had declared " neither to be 
worthy of him " ; fcopes he may now have time, as her mother says, 
to "think of somebody worth something"; and tells him that the 

**3»-39-l UK IT BATH. 123 

blaze of beauty over in Bath must be brighter than the fire by which 
she is writing if it succeeds in again making him intemperately 

But the heats that Landor suffered from were not from that blaze 
only. His eager interest in politics had not meanwhile slackened ; 
and unpalatable as many of his opinions were to the particular part 
of society which his present mode of living necessarily threw much 
in his way, moderation or compromise on any points, even in the 
matter of speech, was a virtue still unknown to him. " About sixty 
years ago," his brother writes to me, " an old friend of his who felt 
much esteem for him, a Major Tickell, the descendant of Addison's 
friend, expressed his surprise to me that my brother should have 
lived so long. * We were occasional guests/ said he, ' at the same 
public table in Bath two winters, where there were other military 
men ; and if I had talked as he talked, there would have been half a 
dozen bullets through my body if the first five had been insufficient.' 
Such dangers were in truth only escaped as his character became 
known for extravagance, and sometimes chiefly through the interposi- 
tion of such friends as the major. 1 ' On the other hand, it is to be 
remembered that there were estimable men in the major's profession 
then, to whom the mere praise of Mr. Fox would be a horrible Jaco- 
bin extravagance ; and the accession of that statesman and his friends 
to power on Pitt's death in the early part of the year had given un- 
usual bitterness to party strifes and hatreds. Landor's intercourse 
with Parr it naturally drew closer ; and it brought him again into 
correspondence with Adair, from one of whose letters we may gather 
something of the turn Landor's outlook in politics was taking at the 
time. More eager than ever against Bonaparte, and resolute for 
maintaining the efficiency of the power which had been thus far the 
only check to his ambition, he had written to Adair about the navy. 
The reply, very cordial in its tone, gives us a glimpse of the troubles 
of " All the Talents " from a source very near the fountain-head : — 

"t concur entirely with you in opinion respecting the times, and the na- 
ture of the difficulties with which the new administration has to contend : 
I think also with you that * whatever can be done by wisdom and hu- 
manity ' will be done by Mr. Fox : but I confess that my hopes are not so 
preat as my fears in any view I can take of the situation of our affaire. 
Indeed it is my firm belief that although, for reasons which appear conclu- 
sive to them, they think it more prudent to abstain from laying open to the 
country the true state of those affairs, they have found them in a much 
worse condition than they could have themselves believed at any time 
during their opposition. I have heard many plans suggested at various 
times for the manning of our navy, and for keeping up a sufficient number 
of seamen during peace to enable government to equip their fleets on a 
sudden without having recourse to pressing or similar methods ; but for 
some reason or other, naval men have always rejected even the experi- 
ment The present Board of Admiralty would, I should think, give a fair 
hearing at least to any new hints that might be offered them on so impor- 



tant a subject Indeed I think that if you would give yourself the iroub! 
to put your ideas into a practicable form, much real good might rcsu 
from submitting them to the consideration of Lord Howick." 

This letter was written at the close of April, 1806, and led of cours 
to nothing. Before a year was over Fox had followed to the grav 
his great adversary ; the rest of " the talents " were nowhere ; an 
with the Portland and Perceval combinations the career of Castle 
reagh and Canning had begun. 

It was while these changes were in progress that an incident oc 
curred which Landor would often himself tell pleasantly in his latte 
years. On some occasion unexpectedly he had gone, after a Ion* 
interval, to visit his mother at Warwick ; when, Parr happening U 
have a large company at dinner that day, one of the guests tolc 
their entertainer of the sudden and unlooked-for arrival at Mrs. Lan 
dor's. " Eat your dinner, eat your dinner," said Parr ; but hardlj 
had the table-cloth been removed, and the first glass of wine taken, 
when the old doctor laid down his pipe. " Drink your wine, mj 
friends, drink your wine ; I must go and see Walter Landor." And 
so he did. At Warwick he presented himself, as unexpectedly as 
Landor had done very shortly before, and the friends had an hour 
together ; but nothing would he take, not even the cup of tea that 
was pressed upon him. " No, no, Walter, I must go back to my 
friends ; they are all at dinner." And Landor would finish the story 
in a pleasant elated way by declaring himself to be the only man in 
the world that could have made Doctor Parr ride half a dozen miles 
with his dinner in his mouth and his pipe out of it. 


Soon after the incident last related, Landor had started on a tour 
in the lake-country, which Parr thus announced to a friend who com- 
plained afterwards that the promised visit was never paid him. " In 
the course of the summer you will be called upon by Mr. Walter 
Landor, who is going on a tour to the lakes. He Is my particular 
friend. He is impetuous, open-hearted, magnanimous ; largely fur- 
nished with general knowledge; well versed in the best classical 
writers ; a man of original genius, as appears in his compositions 
both in prose and verse ; a keen hater of oppression and corruption ; 
and a steady friend to civil and religious liberty. I am confident you 
will be much interested by his conversation ; and it is my good for- , 
tune to know that his talents, attainments, and virtues amply com- 
pensate for all his singularities." No bad picture by a friendly 

With the lakes already were connected the chiefs of the little band 
of writers whose fame became afterwards identified with that beau- 
tiful country. Coleridge had been living at Greta ; Wordsworth at 
Grasmere, not many miles away ; and Southey was now permanently 

XT. 30-39L] BOBERT SOUTHEY. 125 

kzed at Keswick, the richer for the Fox and GrenviHe ministry by a 
pension of two hundred a year which one of its members, his friend 
Wrnne, had obtained for him. Yet far less for this did the name of 
the Whig chief continue for some years longer a grateful sound to 
Southey, than for an incident of one of the last social readings at St. 
Anne's Hill ; when Fox and his company, not closing at eleven as 
usual, "went on till after midnight reading Madoc."* This was 
something for a man to remember to whom poetry was all in all, and 
to whom the half of seventy-nine shillings and a penny had just pre- 
sented itself as his share of Modoc's profits after twelve months' sale. 
But Landor admired Madoc too ; its writer's name had become known 
to him as that of the first and almost only friend of Gtbir ; and in a 
letter to his sister in the summer of 1807 he deplores his ill fortune 
in having missed an introduction to Southey. He had very nearly 
bought an estate in his neighborhood, adjoining Loweswater Lake ; 
bat he had not seen him. 

Once afterwards they missed again. At the house of a friendly 
physician and his wife at Clifton, from whom many kindnesses had 
been received by Landor's sisters during an illness consequent on 
their watching at the sick-bed of their father, Southey had in former 
years been a frequent visitor; and in a letter at the close of 1807, 
Mrs. Carrick writes to tell Landor that Mr. Southey, who had not 
been with them for some years, had called with his friend Mr. Dan- 
Tern, very anxious to get an introduction to the author of Gebir. 
44 He says he will be particularly gratified to wait on you if you will 
allow him. I will not repeat Mr. Southey's opinion of Gebir ; yet one 
may be permitted to be gratified by the opinion of such a man. He 
is just now going to publish his History of the Cid. Did I wrong 
when I said you would be pleased to see Mr. Southey 1 Perhaps I 
said ' delighted.' He has visited and admired your Llanthony Abbey 
with the enthusiasm of a poet. I will endeavor to let you know the 
precise time we may expect again to see him, and I hope you will not 
have taken your flight to Bath." Not yet, however, was the meeting 
with Southey to take place, nor was Landor yet absolutely lord of 
Llanthony : but all his friends knew he had set his heart on the 
place, for that on hearing of it after the failure at Loweswater, with- 
out seeing it he had made an offer for it, and with a thumping oath 
protested he would have it : with what truth as well as vehemence 
will shortly *be seen. Nevertheless he and Southey were to meet 
first, after all 

At Danvers's lodgings in Bristol this memorable friendship began. 
"At Bristol," wrote Southey to Grosvenor Bedford at the end of 

* The generous and genial statesman was indeed a favorite with all the poets; and 
but a rerv few years before, Wordsworth, sending him the Lyrical Ballads, had thus 
written: "In common with the whole of the English people, I have observed in your 
public character a constant predominance of sensibility of heart .'. . This cannot but 
nave made you dear to poets; and I am sure that if, since your first entrance into pub- 
lic life, there has been a single true poet living in England, he must have loved you.*' 
(See Memtdrg by his nephew, L 167.) 




April, 1808, " I met the man of all others whom I was most desirou; 
of meeting, — the only man living of whose praise I was ambitious, 01 
whose censure would have troubled me. You will be curious t< 
know who this could be. Savage Landor, the author of Gebir ; t 
poem which, unless you have heard me speak of it, you have probably 
never heard of at all I never saw any one more unlike myself in 
every prominent part of human character, nor any one who so cor- 
dially and instinctively agreed with me on so many of the most im- 
portant subjects. I have often said before we met that I would walk 
forty miles to see him ; and, having seen him, I would gladly walk 
fourscore to see him again. He talked of Thalaba, and I told him of 
the series of mythological poems which 1 had planned ; mentioned 
some of the leading incidents on which they were to have been formed, 
and also told him for what reason they were laid aside ; — in plain 
English, that I could not afford to write them. Landor's reply was, 
Go on with, them, and I will pay for printing them, as many as you will 
write, and as many copies as you please. I had reconciled myself to 
my abdication (if the phrase may be allowable), and am not sure that 
this princely offer has not done me mischief ; for it has awakened in 
me old dreams and hopes which had been laid aside, and a stinging 
desire to go on, for the sake of showing him poem after poem, and 
saying, I need not accept your offer, but I have done this because you 
made it. It is something to be praised by one's peers; ordinary 
praise I value as little as ordinary abuse." 

Prepared long for this meeting at last, as well in likeness as in 
unlikeness suited for friendly intercourse, finding at once a common 
ground in which what was weakest in each took strength from what 
was best in the other, the friendship so begun that day was ended 
only by death. Soon there fell from it all that might have taken the 
taint of patronage in Landor, and all that mere literary vanity might 
have suggested to Southey ; while yet enough was left of the spirit 
of the compact made at their first meeting, not to weaken in either 
the confidence inspired by it. 

Regularly at successive intervals for five years from that day 
Southey sent by post to Landor, transcribed clearly in his wonderful 
autograph, each section of the whole of his poems of the Curse of 
Kehama and Roderick (the latter under the name of " Pelayo v ), ex- 
actly as each had been first composed ; and duly by the same channel 
payment as regular had been sent back by his friend, in admiration 
always, often in shrewd suggestion, never without zealous and loud 
encouragement. Payment of other kind, though frequently pressed, 
had been steadily declined ; but Landor ultimately forced upon 
Southey, through his publishers, a check for a large number of 
. copies of Kehama, which had been dedicated to himself. To this 
( statement it will be right to add that every transcript by Southey, 
with its covering letter, was kept by Landor ;. and that all of them, 
with the rest of the correspondence stretching uninterruptedly over 



« 3°-39-l 



thirty yean, were given by Landor to myself in view of some such 
undertaking as the present. Southey's were afterwards lent to his 
fioa and his son-in-law for the selection of such portions as they might 
desire to publish ; but Landor's, which he had himself reclaimed from 
the executors of his friend, were at his own request wholly reserved 
for the use now about to be made of them. And with them, let it be 
clearly said once for all, such portions only of Southey's will here be 
given as have not before been printed in either his son's Lift • or his 
sun-in-law's Letters, t Excluded from both publications, they will yet 
show probably better than anything in either what there was that 
formed the curious likeness in unlikeness between these remarkable 

The time at which they met was when Southey had abandoned his 
earlier without finding his later opinions, when he was out of Utopia 
but not yet settled in Old Sarum. He remained still an ardent re- 
former. But a few months back he had been deploring that Fox 
should not have died before Pitt, and so been spared the disgrace of 
pronouncing a panegyric upon such an insolent, empty-headed, long- 
winded braggadocio ; and not a twelvemonth later, when the Quarterly 
Retfiew suddenly confronted the Edinburgh, armed to the teeth against 
a tyranny which, absolute over poetry as well as politics, had come to 
be intolerable to many, J he warned the new-comer, which he had 
helped into life, that he should withdraw straightway from all con- 
nection with it if it raised against reformers any cry of Jacobinism.^ 
Expressly, indeed, he declared himself then to be, in terms which Lan- 
dor might himself have used, for no peace while Bonaparte lived, and 
for reform as the only means to prevent revolution. But it was less in 
the opinions they thus held in common, than in their mode of form- 
ing and maintaining opinions even widely opposed, that they were 
unconsciously so like each other. To both belonged the sanguine 
temperament, the determined self-assertion, and the habit, whether 
within or beyond the limits where opinion was safe, of free unbridled 
thinking. To both was too often applicable what Southey said of 
another friend, that the pride of reason in him left no room or acces- 
sibility for any kind of reasoning ; and the weaknesses in both, the 
inconsistencies, the extreme opinions professed so often without need, 
were in a great degree referable to this. In the years that followed 
shortly, when to Southey reform and revolution had come to mean 
the tame thing, not admitting the change in himself, he attributed 
the whole of it to others, and said the Jacobins that surrounded him 
were the Anti-Jacobins of his youth, equally unjust and as fero- 

* Six volumes. (Longmans, 1849, 1850.) 

t Four volumes. (Longmans, 1866.) 

t " We shall hoist the bloody flag down alongside that Scotch ship, and engage her 
yard-arm and yard-arm." (Southey to his brother. Letter*, II. 114.) 

§ u Things are come to this dilemma, Reform or Ruin ; and on one of these horns I 
pr&T to God that John Ball may give his damned drivers a deadlv toss. A constitu- 
tional reform would save the country, and nothing short of that will be of any avail." 
(To Grosvenor Bedford, 21st April, 1809. Letter*, II. 146.) 





cious. Nor waa this without truth in a deeper sense than he intended, 
for in all essential respects he continued what he had formerly been ; 
and what now most attracted him to Landor was less the agreement 
in present opinion of which he speaks, than the resemblance in habits 
of v mind of which he was less conscious, and which in their younger 
days had made both of them rebels to authority. Several expressions 
to be found in the letters will seem less startling if these few words 
are remembered. 

There is yet also another point on which a word should be said. It 
belonged to the nobler part of Southey's character that he should 
take the most exalted view of the calling to which he had devoted 
himself. He was one of the greatest, and pretty nearly the last, of 
the genuine men of letters that England has produced, and he hon- 
estly believed himself also to be one of the greatest of her poets. He 
worked hard and got little ; but while his bare maintenance, and 
hardly that, arose from his work for the day, he labored also without 
pay at other work for which he knew the rewards must be distant, 
but appears to have felt they would be absolutely sure. " I was per- 
fectly aware," he said to a friend who had been contrasting one of 
his epics with a more popular poetical romance, " that I waa planting 
acorns while my contemporaries were setting kidney-beans. The oak 
will grow, and though I may never sit under its shade, my children 
will." Three years later than the present date he wrote to Grosvenor 
Bedford : " I wish you would not call me the most sublime poet of 
the age, because in this point both Wordsworth and Landor are at 
least my equals. You will not suspect me of any mock-modesty in 
this. On the whole I shall have done greater things than either, 
but not because I possess greater powers." Not that the reader now 
may smile at them are these things quoted, but to explain still fur- 
ther what it was that knit so close the friendship of which I am 
speaking, and made it so enduring. Southey's already avowed ad- 
miration of Landor's poetry made inexpressibly grateful to him Lan- 
dor's praise of his own ; and in the pleasure each continued to 
derive from the other on this point, or, to speak plainly, in their fre- 
quently excessive self-laudations, simplicity was more prominent than 
vanity. In a critical moment, too, the offer to pay for printing more 
epics had gone straight to Southey's heart, almost sinking at the 
time from want of all encouragement. Kehama^ just sketched out, 
had been flung aside ; and the series that had been meant but to 
begin with Joan, Thalaba, and Madoc, was in danger of ending with 
them because of the heaps of all three piled up in the publishers' 
cellars. " It is more than probable," he wrote to Wynne, " that I 
should never have written verse again had it not been for an acci- 
dental meeting with Landor. I had totally disused the art for the 
last three years." He told Walter Scott of Landor's princely offer, 
that it had stung him to the very core ; and as the bite of the taran- 
tula had no cure but dancing, so for this there would be none but 

£T. 30-39.] ROBERT SOUTHEY. 129 

singing. To many other friends he wrote the same, and often he said 
afterwards that but for Landor Kehama would not have been finished 
and Roderick never begun. , 

Whether the world could not have borne the loss is another ques- 
tion. In this matter appearances at present are against both Southey 
md Landor ; but as, for the latter, appeal is made in this book 
gainst them, so for the former it will be fair to say that besides 
iaany minor poems which will live with the language, and ballads 
*hich are masterpieces of fantastic beauty, the greater poems would 
seem to have fallen into unmerited neglect I am not sure whether 
it might not be put as a test of the existence or otherwise of a pure 
lore of the art in any man that he should like or dislike these 
achievements of Southey ; and if Ariosto is able to retain his read- 
era, it appears hardly creditable to the public taste of our time that 
Southey should entirely lose his. It is at least certain that* for 
many subtle and pleasing varieties of rhythm, for splendor of inven- 
tion, for passion and incident sustained often at the highest level, and 
for all that raises and satisfies wonder and fancy, there will be found 
in Thafaba, Kelvama, and Roderick passages of unrivalled excellence 
(" perfect," even Byron thought) ; and these may here excuse, if 
they do not wholly justify, the hopes that ence centred in them, 
&fti to which exalted expression is given in the correspondence of the 

Their letters will extend, as I have said, over thirty years ; and 
one more remark will fitly close this prelude to them. Whatever 
fitful or wayward changes were incident to the life of which these 
pages are the record, and over which already have passed some friend- 
snips formed and broken, the intercourse with Southey was to feel no 
retiring ebb, but to keep always on at the full. As it was at the 
first, it continued to the end. Through all that estranged Southey's 
opinions more and more from those with whom he had been most in 
sympathy, Landor was stanch to him. In every bitterness of the 
other extreme which Landor did not scruple to indulge, Southey had 
reuses ready for him. When Byron coupled them in ridicule, 
Southey seized the occasion to avow that no greater glory could befall 
his name than that of companionship with Landor's, to have obtained 
whose approbation as a poet, and possessed his friendship as a man, 
*ould be remembered among the honors of his own life when the 
petty enmities of the generation were forgotten and its ephemeral rep- 
utations had passed away. And when that life was nearing to its 
dose, almost the very latest words that Southey: was permitted to 
jfcw with a full consciousness of their meaning were these from the 
^end whom he had loved so well : " If any man living is ardent in 
"is wishes for your welfare, I am, — whose few and almost worthless 
Merita your generous heart has always overvalued, and whose infinite 
K&. great faults it has been too ready to overlook." 






Landor began his first letter* to Southey, who had sent him aH| 
that was written of Kekama t by telling him he had not stoicism 
enough in his nature to deserve his correspondent's good opinion or 
his own ; yet there were objects of which he never lost sight, and in 
the pursuit of which he was strenuous and persevering. " While we 
we're together I could not press the offer I made, both because I was 
unwilling to have it considered as a matter of importance in itself, 
and because I felt too sensibly how little right I had to the distinc- 
tion. There are few, I confess, from whom I would have accepted 
the proposal I would from you, if I could afford you the highest of 
luxuries at an inconsiderable price." He then speaks of Kekama, 
intermixing with exalted eulogy skilful objection to its metres, 
rhymed and unrhymed ; excluding novelties of experiment from 
poetry as not within its lawful province ; and very striking in what 
he says of Pindar and his metrical difficulties. 

" The subject you have chosen is magnificent There is more genius in the 
conception of this design than in the execution of. any recent poem, however 
perfect Shall I avow to you that in general I am most delighted with 
those passages which are in rhyme, and that when I come into the blank 
verse again my ear repines f Are we not a little too fond of novelty and 
experiment, and is it not reasonable to prefer those kinds of versification 
which the best poets have adopted and the best judges have cherished for 
the longest time? In Samson Agonistes and in Tkalaba there are many 
lines which I could not describe. There are some in Kehama. Poetry is 
intended to soothe and flatter our prepossessions, not to wound or irritate 
or contradict them. We are at liberty to choose the best modifications, we 
are not at liberty to change or subvert We are going too far from our 
great luminaries. There must be a period; there must be a return from 
this aphelion. 

"You have begun a poem which will be coeval with our language. 
March on: conciliate first, then conquer. The ears of thousands may be 
captivated, — the mind and imagination of but few. If Gray had "written 
his Elegy in another metre, it would not be the most admired poem in 
existence. Many would see its disproportions and defects ; though propor- 
tion has not been studied, or perhaps known, beyond the drama. Kehama 
will admit more diversity than has even been imagined in the works of 

" I never could perceive that wildness for which Pindar has been tradi- 
tionally remarked. I could perceive an exquisite taste and an elevation of 
soul such as never were united, — not even in the historical works of the 
Jewish writers, not in the Song of Deborah nor of Moses. Ch. Burney is 
of opinion that we haVe lost the best works of Pindar. In a little time, how- 
ever, he will teach people to read the remaining Odes in such a manner as 

\ « Dated « Sunday evening, May 8 »• [1808], 

' t " If he likes it," he wrote to Miss Barker (28th April, 1808), " in good earnest, I 
will get up at six every morning, and give two fresh hours of morning work to it till it 
is completed." He told Wynne several months later that he was still borrowing hours 
from steep to go on with it, that Landor might not be disappointed. And so he perse- 
vered to the close. (LeUen, H 60 - 69, &c.) 

**- 30*39-1 FIBST LETTERS TO SOUTHET. 131 

to— distinguish them from prose! Is it not humiliating and painful to 
reflect that a poet who held the second place in the ancient world should 
bre left it a question among those who know his language the most inti- 
n^tdy whether his verses have any intrinsic melody, or owed it merely to 
tie music by which they were accompanied ? Meanwhile every one satis- 
fied his own ear with the despicable trash of Lycophron and Tryphiodorus, 
Tut opposition of iambic and trochaic, in antispastics, may have been suited 
to opposite choirs and instruments ; but I hope the metre and language of 
&t early ballads, which we have no reason to retain, will be banished for- 
ever by men of genius from their more elevated works. 

u Southey, we have had too much of the lute and of the lyre. We for- 
?et that there are louder, graver, more impressive tones. These indeed are 
sot proper for every day ; nor is it every day, every century, or every 
r^ennium, that we shall see such poems as Kehama. I beseech you, 
Southey, use such materials as have already stood' the test Wildness of 
conception, energy, passion, character, — magnificent but wild profusion, — 
all this you can give it; and with this you will confer on it neither a haz- 
ardous nor a painful immortality." 

His second letter was of twelve days' later date ; Southey having 
meanwhile made battle for his own forms of verse, and propounded a 
private belief that the whole system of classical metres had been 
nothing more than a creating of difficulty for the sake of overcoming 
it. Old intercourse with Parr will be traced in portions of Landoi^s 
reply about Catullus, though he has partly forgotten the Doctor's 



" I am delighted at the manner in which you intend to execute your 
^ork, and I am certain you will exhibit to the world such combinations of 
harmony as poetry never yet embraced You will not, however, bring me 
over to your opinion that the ancients raised difficulties in their metre for 
the sake merely of combating and overcoming them. Nor am I indeed of 
opinion that even the most complicated are so hard to manage as the Eng- 
lish blank verse. Recollect their vast resources, their multiform transposi- 
tions, their building up and pulling to pieces of words, their particles, their 
substitutions of one foot for another, and their infinity of synonymes. By 
i-ow many terms and periphrases might every god, every hero, every coun- 
ty, be designated. Of all the verses in the world, the Grreek anapaest is the 
easiest, — dare I avow it, to me it appears a mark, the only one indeed, of 
puerility and barbarism in the literature of this illustrious people. Our ana- 
Pj»t on the contrary is beautiful, particularly when alternated in rhyme. 
The Romans were not unwise in restricting themselves to few metres. The 
palliambic has been used but once. Catullus, whose taste was the most 
exquisite quot sunt quotquefuere aut qvoiquot aliis erunt in annis, was forced 
JJto it by his subject Perhaps he translated a poem he found in Bithynia. 
The caxtt is Grreek, the style is not Roman. A single word of it is a suffi- 
cient proof to me that he was merely the translator : — 

TjhnpanUm | tubam | Cybe ] les. 
A Roman would not make an anapsest of tympanum ; a Grecian would 
^tetMroiw. No one will be so silly as to imagine he wrote a trochaic; 
for if a single foot is so, the remainder of the verse is, as far as the dimeter 
iambic goes. But I am doing in this letter as I did, I believe, in my last: 
1 am writing as if I paid no attention to your remarks." 

* See ante, p. 98. 


Southey's remarks, put strongly in both letters, had been to urge 
him to write. Write in English, he said, because it is a bejtter lan- 
guage than Latin ; " but if you will not write English, write Latin \ 
and in God's name overcome that superstition about Robert Smiths 
When I consider what he is, it puts me out of all patience to think 
that the ghost of what he has been should overlay you like a night- 
mare." * Other remarks also he had made, on what he had heard of 
affairs in Bath. He wished JLandor were married ; wished he were as 
much Quaker as himself; wished above all he would throw aside 
Rousseau, and make Epictetus his manual. To all which Landor 
replied, bringing Ianthe herself into the sober presence : — 

"The reason I have given over poetry is this. I think it better not to 
have cut the dragon's teeth than to have sowed them. What a rabble of 
enemies are raised up about one at every new publication ! There are 
thousands who may vex me. there are few who can delight or amuse me ; 
added to which, I either feel or fancy that I am as fond of another's good 
poetry as of my own. But alas ! I do want stoicism for everything. I 
once resolved to attain it. What was the result ? Your slave, your Epic- 
tetus, was pursued and punished. 

" Shall I give you an elegy I have written : — 

Vita brevi fugitura ! prior fugitura venustas! 
Hoc saltern exigno tempore duret amor. 

These opening verses pleased me. I repeated them one morning in the 
presence of Ianthe. She held me by both ears till I gave her the English : — 

Soon, Ianthe, life is o'er, 

And sooner beauty's playful smile 1 
Kiss me, and grant what I implore, 

Let love remain that little while.'* 

I will spare the reader the rest of his Latin elegy, not one of the 
two-and-thirty more verses of which did he spare his friend ; winding 
up the close of his letter also in characteristic fashion : — 

" I once thought of publishing a collection of Latin poems, in which I 
had written remarks on those of R Smith, Fox, Frere, Canning, Addison, 
Milton, May, Buchanan, Pitcairn, Cowley, and half a dozen more of our 
countrymen. These notices in general were not much longer than yours 
to the English Poets. Here are two specimens : * Foxiitm, cseteroquin prae 
rivalibus suis clarum, poetam parcius laudaverim. Erat ei mitis, et dum 
luderet, sapientia ; castigati sales ; verborum persaepe, nonnunquam rerum 
penuria; interdum frigus animi, quod lenem spiritum faventes vo^tarent^ 
' De Caninio dicam quod sentio : nemo enim mortalium tanti est ut me 
mendacem faciat. Bene res malas scripsit, nee bona male. Dolendum est 
obscuros atque infimos nebulones a poetis pessimis insequendis revocasse, 
in viros illustres optiraosque incitasse, nee novisse seipsum esse temnendum, 
quando alios temnere pertinaciter, magnoque cum suo cruciatu simulare.' 
We really do want some Elegant Extracts of the modern latinists. Many 
fine specimens are recoverable. I wonder some Grerman has not done it 
I have pointed out the bad poetry and the false metre of Sir William Jones 

* Omitted in the Life, ITI. 144. Another omission on the same page may be worth 
appending. " Your £ 2," says Southey, " has been paid to the subscription for the Gras- 
mere orphans. Enough has'been raised to provide for their well-being and well-doing. 1 ' 

JET. 30-39.] IN 8PAIN. 133 

— I correct myself: you cannot point out the bad poetry of this worthy 
man, but you may lay your hand upon it Yes, botn your hands. G-yaa 
night lay all his even, if each of them were as large as the whole bodies of 
zj£ brotherhood, and extended novem per jugera" 

The second consignment of Kehama manuscript lies before me, 
scrawled over with innumerable addresses. It had gone to the Hot- 
veils, Clifton. It had followed to Pulteney House, Bath, and to the 
South Parade. London and Brighton had been tried ; and it had 
overtaken Landor at last in Falmouth ! From the latter place he 
writes to acknowledge it, and one may fancy the amazement with 
which Southey read these words. " Nothing I do, whether wise or 
foolish, will create much surprise in those who know my character. 
1 am going to Spain. . In three days I shall have sailed. At Brigh- 
ton, one evening, I preached a crusade to two auditors. Inclination 
1 was not wanting, and in a few minutes everything was fixed. I am 
\ now about to express a wish at which your gentler and more benevo- 
lent soul will shudder. May every Frenchman out of France perish ! 
May the Spaniards not spare one ! No calamities can chain them 
down from their cursed monkey-tricks ; no generosity can bring back 
to their remembrance that a little while since they mimicked, till 
they really thought themselves, free men. Detestable race, profaners 
of republicanism, — since the earth will not open to swallow them all 
up, may even kings partake in the glory of their utter extermination ! 
I am learning, night and morning, the Spanish language. I ought 
not to give my opinion of it at present ; but I confess it appears to 
me such as I should have expected to hear spoken by a Roman 
slave, sulky from the bastinado. I hope to join the Spanish army 
immediately on my landing, and I wish only to fight as a private 
soldier. There is nothing in this unless it could be known what I 
We left for it, and, having left, have lost." * 

It was a kind of loss which his sister more wisely would have 
thought his gain ; but at the step thus suddenly taken his family 
were as much startled as his friends. He had mentioned it to no 
one. The act followed close upon the thought of it, and he was gone 
before any one could have reasoned with him. But as we look back 
upon it now, and recall some of the circumstances that immediately 
impelled it, we may possibly find in it, besides the quixotic rashness, 
something generous and noble. 


Napoleon's attempt to convert Spain and Portugal into dependen- 
cies of France was the turning-point of his fortunes. * When he con- 
ceived that design he had all Europe, excepting England, at his feet, 
uui nothing seemed easier than its completion. To one who had 

• The letter hat limply the date: " Falmouth, Wed. Eve." The postmark is 8th 
Angtut, 1808. 

134 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONY. C ?22^mi. i 


struck down the whole of Germany and made a satellite of Russia 
what danger could there possibly be in overturning the Peninsula 
thrones, one of them for years the most abject of his vassals, and th 
other the most despicable of his adversaries 1 Tet his ruin d&*te 
from Jiis perfidy against them. 

The plot had been in progress some time before its real drift wa. 
suspected. Both countries had been overrun with French troops, slti< 
the miserable Bourbon princes had been kidnapped, before the prree 
ence of Joseph Bonaparte at Madrid told the whole treacherous story 
A kind of dumb amazement and acquiescence was at first the only feci in 
awakened. Resistance by that time seemed dead beyond the hope 01 
power of revival. Spain had no*treasury and no army. Her soldiers 
had been carried off to the north of Europe, a hundred thousand 
French veterans were in their place, and French troops garrisoned hei 
strongest fortresses. Humanly speaking, all help and hope had come to 
an end when the world was unexpectedly inthralled by such a eight 
as even that century had not witnessed. 

The Spanish people themselves arbse in mass againsf their invaders. ; 
All over the country there sprang suddenly into life local bodies | 
called Juntas, by whom the powers of government were seised and | 
exercised with a success proportioned to their resolution and audacity. 
The flame that had at first risen highest in Seville overspread the 
land with marvellous rapidity. French fleets were seized and French 
garrisons found themselves isolated in fortresses supposed to be im- 
pregnable. Armies were created and organized ; a free press was 
established ; the 'peasantry, self-formed into guerilla bands, strength- 
ened everywhere the national levies; and in the very girls and 
women of Spain the French soldiers found avenging furies. It 
seemed as if at last the conquering career of Napoleon had been 
stayed in the presence of a power grander than any arrayed against 
it by the old governments. From the spirit of patriotism and liberty 
which had originally been the strength of France men now believed 
that her weakness and her downfall were to come. 

To say that the enthusiasm created by these events in most parts 
of England was frantic is to employ no misplaced term. But what 
was done thereon, from its ignoble beginnings to its noble end, is 
matter of history, and excluded from these pages. History, however, 
scarcely tells us how deeply individuals were moved, as, in broken 
and exaggerated fragments, piece by piece, the glorious news came 
over. The shouts of towns and cities far off, says Wordsworth, found 
echo in the vales and hills around him ; where " the hopes and fears 
of suffering Spain " had been equally in all men's hearts. Every- 
where, too, expectation went as far beyond probability or reason as 
the exploits that had aroused it. Castanos and Baylen, Palafox and 
Saragoza, names hardly known to this generation, became watch- 
words over England ; and when King Joseph was reported to have fled 
from Madrid, it was as if Napoleon himself had been tumbled from his 

4T.30-39-] m SPAIN. 135 

throne. Coleridge* then living in Grasmere Yale, has related how 
they would, he and Wordsworth together, often and often walk out to 
the Raise Gap oa late as two o'clock in the morning to meet the Kes- 
wick carrier with the newspaper. It was a time unparalleled in his- 
tory, exclaimed Southey, " and a more glorious one never has and 
never can be exhibited to the world." And, just at the time when 
he was saying this, the excitement had fallen upon still more inflam- 
mable stuff in Landor's breast, with the result that we have seen, jle 
was for action, not talking. He resolved to go out as a volunteer. 
He took money to contribute to the common stock, and would him- 
self lead into battle the troops he should have equipped and armed. 
Very quixotic ; yet at the heart of it also something of a generous 
grandeur. If a more settled earnestness of purpose had but entered 
into iti 

Unfortunately of such enterprises in general it is to be said that 
they fail as a matter of course. The fine-hearted and hair-brained 
make an ill match; unprofitable for the most part, and barren of 
issue. There can be no sufficient calculation and no adequate pro-, 
vision. Something there was, in the present case, of glory in having * 
been the first English volunteer that set foot in Spain ; but this was / 
about all achieved by it or got out of it. At Corunna Charles Stuart ' 
was. envoy ; attached in a friendly way to his mission was Charles 
Robert V^ughan of All Souls, Oxford, who had been at Rugby with 
Laudor ; and to Corunna Landor first went. His two companions to 
whom he refers in his letter to Southey were both Irishmen, an 
O'Hara and a Fitzgerald. Upon reaching Corunna he sent to the 
governor ten thousand reals for. relief of the town of Yenturada, 
burnt to the ground by the French. At the same time, in a letter 
accompanying his gift, he stated his intention to join at once the 
army of Blake ; and declared that whatever volunteers were ready to 
join him, though to the number of a thousand, he was ready to pay 
their expenses, to travel with them on foot, and to fight along with 
them ; desiring no other glory than to serve under any brave Spaniard 
in arms for defence of religion and liberty. By the supreme council 
of Castile, to which the governor straightway sent the* money and the 
letter, both were gratefully received ; the reals were deposited in the 
Rational Bank, and the governor was instructed to express to Mr. 
Landor the high sense which the council entertained of his gener- 
osity, his valor, and his honorable enthusiasm.* 

* Tbq subjoined is taken from Sounder*?* Dublin New* Letter and Daily Advertiser 
of Monday the 3d October, 1806, which now lies before me. 

'* The Governor of Corunna has addressed the following letter to Don Arias Hon, 
Bean of the Supreme Council of Castile: — 

u Illustrious Sir, — On the 24th an English gentleman, accompanied by two Irish 
gentlemen, delivered to me a letter to this effect: — 

44 ' 1 take the liberty to present, through the medium of your respectable authority. 
Mmall offering of ten thousand reals for the unfortunate town of Venturada, destroyed 
on account of its loyalty to its king by most cruel and ferocious enemies; Two Irish 


In the interval between the enrolment of his troop, which 
formed at once, and their departure for head-quarters, a misundei 
standing occurred with the English envoy. Landor applied to liim 
self an expression of Stuart's overheard by him at one of the meeting 
of the junta, which undoubtedly was meant for another person. Tin 
matter might easily have been cleared up, but he did not even mak< 
the attempt On the way with his volunteers to Blake's army h< 
wrote from Villa Franca an intemperate letter to Vaughan, anc 
printed it both in Spanish and English before any reply could reach 
him. In or near Aguilar he remained nearly three months, engaged 
in petty skirmishing, and fretting at the inaction of the northern 
division and its general. Then, what the alleged affront of the en voj 
had begun, the affair of Cintra and its disasters completed ; his troop 
dispersed or melted away ; and he came back to England in as great 
a hurry as he had left it. 

At his return he told Southey that he wished greatly to have seen 
Madrid, but he was afraid a battle might be fought in his absence, 
and the mortification of not being present at it would have killed him. 
" In this expectation I remained nearly three monthB in the neigh- 
borhood of the Gallician army, sometimes at Reynosa, sometimes at 
Aguilar. I returned to Bilbao after the French had entered I had 
the satisfaction of serving three launches with powder and muskets, 
and of carrying on my shoulders six or seven miles a child too heavy 
for its exhausted mother. These are things without difficulty and 
without danger ; yet they please, independently of gratitude or ap- 
plause. I was near being taken the following day. This would have 
been exceedingly unpleasant, as I had already Bent the letter to 
Vaughan and Stuart, and myself and the envoy must meet." He de- 
scribed Aguilar at that time as an open town consisting chiefly and 
almost entirely of one broad street ; and said, in proof of the strange 
mistakes as well as fatal inaction of Blake, that while his main force 
was at the town, he was himself a mile on the east, and had so sta- 
tioned his cannon on the west, near a ford, that a regiment of horse 
might have surprised and spiked it 

" Ah," said Southey afterwards, when he was writing Roderick, " it 
is much for a poet to have traversed the scenes in which the subject 

gentlemen (Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. O'HanO. men of the first families of their country, 
accompany me, and are desirous of proceeding with me to the army of General Blake. 
If there are any volunteers in this town, or in the kingdom, who may wish to accom- 
pany me, though their number should amount to one thousand, I shall with much 
pleasure pay the expenses of their journey, travel with them on foot, and fight along 
with them, glorying to serve under the command of any brave Spaniard who has taken 
up arms in defence of religion and liberty. W. Savage Landor.' 

44 The said ten thousand reals being in my hands, I inform you thereof, in order that 
publication may be made in the Court Gaaette, and the money appropriated for the 
benefit of the unfortunate town of Venturada. A. Alceco. 

44 Corunna, August 26." 

" The Council ordered the above ten thousand reals to be transmitted to the Na- 
tional Bank for the use of the people of Venturada, and directed the Governor of 
Corunna to express to Mr. Landor and the two Irish gentlemen the high sense which 
the Council entertains of their generosity, valor, and honorable enthusiasm.** 

*r. jo- 39-1 * m SPAIN, 137 

of his poem is laid. It gave you an advantage in Count Julian." It 

is certainly not difficult to understand, after reading what has just 

been quoted, the double meanings in Landor's mind in some of the 

earlier scenes of his tragedy, when its hero, in arms against his 

countrymen, is praising their simplicity of character : — 

" If strength be wanted for security, 
Mountains the guard, forbidding all approach 
With iron-pointed and uplifted gates, 
Thou wilt Se welcome too in Aguilar, 
Impenetrable, marble-turreted, 
Surveying from aloft the limpid ford, 
The massive fane, the sylvan avenue; 
Whose hospitality I proved myself, 
A willing leader in no impious war 
When fame and freedom urged me; or mayst dwell 
In Reynosa's dry and thriftless dale, 
Unharvested beneath October moons, 
Among those frank and cordial villagers." 

Such was Landor's raid into Spain ; as to which I will now only 
give such further illustrations, from his own and the envoy's letters, as 
may still be read with interest They will also tell what the Span- 
iards themselves thought of the service rendered them, and what re- 
turn, they made for it. 

Here is his own description of his voyage to Corunna : — 

u The commencement of my journey did not augur a prosperous con- 
tinuance or a happy termination. I arrived at Falmouth when the packets 
had sailed two hours, and was detained at that wretched place eight days. 
At last I went on board, and the wind was favorable; but while the 
sailors were filling the casks, it changed again suddenly, and we were 
buffeted or becalmed on the Atlantic five days more. The water had been 
put into foul casks, and it could not be more putrid if it had been carried 
round the world. The tea seemed originally to have had some connection 
with tobacco, and had formed a fresh family compact in the voyage. 
There was not a lemon on board ; but we found a few blighted figs and 
rotten apples. As we approached Cape Prior, we discovered a French 
privateer. Apprehensive that she might capture some of the transports 
that were carrying our troops to Lisbon, I asked Captain Atkins why he 
did not engage. She was then only at the distance of a mile from our 
frigate. The captain said that the packets had positive orders to the con- 
trary ; but in fact the ship was larger and the guns much heavier than 
oars. We continued two whole days within sight of Corunna. The wind 
was violent, and the vessel received some material damage. At last we 
entered the harbor, and were greeted with all the alacrity of pleasure by 
our new allies." * 

Something of what happened in his march between Corunna and 
Villa Franca I find' in other letters, which contain also delightful 
glimpses of the country and characteristics of that part of Gallicia. 

* A letter from Captain Atkins dated the 18th November, 1608, acknowledges grate- 
fiuTy a gift of a compass which Landor had sent him; savs it will remind him always 
u or the many pleasant and instinctive hours passed with the giver, notwithstanding 
the prevalence of many adverse gales in a very leaky ship " ; and, describing the defects 
in the latter as having been " found considerably alarming," adds that he is neverthe- 
less under immediate orders to join the commander-in-chief, Lord Gambler. In one 
'of the very next engagements he lost his life. 


u At Lugo we took up our abode at a posada just beyond the walls. 
Near it was a magazine of brandy, wine, and corn. About midnight we 
were awakened by a blaze brighter than the day. Our first idea was that 
a party of French horse had surprised the cijy. We threw on our clotlie®, 
seized our swords and pistols, and discovered immediately under our win- 
dow vast torrents of name. We hastened to the spot, and in a few min- 
utes the guard had assembled with the governor and his officers. He 
thanked us very cordially for our co-operation in extinguishing the fire. 
There was no engine in the town, and I had recommended to throw as 
much dust as could be collected wherever the conflagration was extending:. 
This method perfectly succeeded. The principal church here is partly 
ancient, partly modern. The walls are of very remote antiquity. Tlie 
surrounding scenery, particularly towards Astorga, is grand, although 
enclosed and cultivated. Near the city the fences are of stone ; farther 
on, they are live and wild ; but I remarked that the rose and honeysuckle 
were not to be found amongst them so frequently as in England. The 
birds, too, were silent We heard, instead of them, loud and wearisome 
hymns, the tune eternally the same, and one incessant noise of cart-wheels . 
creaking on wooden axles. About a /quarter of a mile beyond the bridge 
the road is supported by a wall, and from this place the river Minho on 
the right presents the appearance of a lake, in the midst of lofty chestnuts. 
We rested at another posada three leagues and a half from Lugo. The 
window, or rather the small aperture which had escaped the shutters, 
showed us a narrow dell bounded by romantic hills, on one of which was 
a single spot of the most vivid verdure, and on another a small intrench- 
ment In this country some honey is produced, but here is little corn, 
little cattle, and no wine. The bread, which they informed me was white 
as the bread of Lugo, was indebted for its whiteness to the sand with 
which it was mixed. We proceeded to the house of Don Josef Manuel 
Gomez, at Basside. It was hardly a league farther. Here we slept The 
land is fertile and well wooded, but on the 1st of September I saw some 
barley only six or seven inches high. Some standard peaches in the gar- 
den were also laden with unripe fruit. In fact this part of Gallicia is cer- 
tainly later than many in England, though the fruit more rarely fails and 
grows in more abundance. Throughout a distance of ninety miles I have 
not seen an elm or an ash. This, though incomparably the most valuable 
of trees, is perhaps the most neglected in the whole of Europe, and its 
nature the worst understood. Its timber is of a firmer texture when it 
grows in an elevated situation, for which it is peculiarly adapted by the 
toughness and flexibility of its branches. It could resist the wind and 
snow where any other tree would split, and where very few would vege- 
tate. We reached Nocera, a lovely little village ; then la posada de Castro, 
and el castel de los Moros on the left, twenty -seven leagues from Corunna. 
About half a league farther is the sweetest vale divided into enclosures of 
irregular forma, hardly one of them a quarter of an acre. A brook runs 
amongst them, whose innumerable mazes it is impossible to trace: the 
fields, the trees, and the waters seem all in infancy and all at play. Before 
us lay a wide extent of ploughed upland with interspersed clumps of 
chestnuts. Here was no species of herbage, but it was covered with 
sheep. This is the only instance in which I observed them on the fal- 
lows. Such bold and diversified scenery would have been admired in an 
Englisji park. It wanted but verdure and deer, accompaniments (but not 
essentials) to the picturesque. About a league farther we reached Villa 

«r. 30-39.] in SPAIN. 139 

From Villa Franca was written his ill-advised letter to Vaughan ; 
and of the impetuous mistake that suggested it something must be 
aid. Shortly after his arrival he was received at the* palace of the 
junta during one of their sittings, when Stuart had attended hastily 
sot only to introduce his countryman, but also to obtain liberation 
for a Spanish official on his way to Monte Video, whom the junta, 
upon false information, had placed under arrest, and of whom, among 
other things, Stuart told them that the poor man was distracted, and 
had no money to support him at Corunna. He had been talking just 
before to the junta of the services proposed to be rendered by Lan- 
dor ; and in the confusion that prevailed, the latter, believing himself 
still to be referred to, overheard the words unquestionably meant for 
the other, it est fou, il iCa pas Vargent y which he straightway applied 
to himself, and made the text of his letter to Vaughan. 

11 They were spoken in that half-formed and that half-stifled voice which 
deep malignity is apt to utter, but has not the power to modulate or man- 
age. He would not dare to use such language openly ; and on his return 
to England, whenever he gives me the opportunity, I will teach him that 
if any one speaks of me, his tone must be lower, or his remarks must be 
more true. You, who remember me in my earliest years, remember that 
I was distinguished — was it either as a liar or a fool? Inform him if ever 
I broke my word, or ever endured an insult I made no reply at the time 
to his calumnies and his insolence. I thanked him for his offers of service. 
Though I consider him as merely a petty envoy to a province, yet I con- 
sider also what is due both to the Spanish and the English nation. No 
action is recorded more heroic than that of Louis XIV. towards the Due 
de Lausun. When the king received a gross and grievous insult from his 
subject, he rose, threw his cane out of the window, and made this calm 
reply : ' I should be sorry to have caned a duke and peer of France.' 
Vaughan, I should be sorry to have done what I may not be sorry to do. 
I have been able to restrain my impetuosity, but I will not conceal my 
disdain. I entertain the highest and most inviolable respect for whatever 
is in office under the king and constitution of my country. The forbear- 
ance I have shown, and even the letter I am writing, will controvert the 
charge of imbecility, as surely as the same charge would be proved by 
whatever is intemperate or coarse. The ten thousand reals (why am I 
forced to mention them ?) which I paid into the hands of the governor at 
Corunna, and a daily allowance of rail pay to every soldier I am leading to 
the armies, together with some occasional gratuities to keep up their spirits 
on the march, are presumptive proof that the calculations of Mr. S. are 
groundless, frivolous, and false." 

A man who could have reasoned however slightly with his anger 
might at once have detected, in the very language employed by him- 
self, much stronger presumptive proof against his own calculations. 
" I made no reply at the time to his calumnies and insolence. I 
thanked him for his offers of service." Any one indeed must have 
been himself a fool, as Stuart afterwards said, to whom the occasion 
of offering thanks for service should have presented itself also as a 
fitting one for insolence to the person rendering it. The extracts 


that follow not only exonerate Stuart, but show him in a very pleas- 
ing light ; anjl the mention of what else was in Landor's offensive 
letter may be limited to what further it tells of what occurred to him 
in Spain. He declares himself grateful for the marks of distinction 
conferred on him by the venerable Bishop of Orense, and for the re- 
spect freely paid him by every Spaniard of rank or consequence with 
whom he had conversed. He tells the junta of Corunna that he can 
yearly, without inconvenience, save sufficient for the accomplishment 
of every offer he has made, and cannot apply it with more lasting 
pleasure to any other purpose than the advancement of their cause. 
And he expresses his fixed intention to reach the camp, and to con- 
duct to head-quarters the men intrusted to his care, in time for the 
battle then immediately expected. % 


" Don Benito de Novoa will certify that Mr. Landor must have misunder- 
stood me, and that the language he alludes to could not have been directed 
against him. On the contrary, I one day cited Mr. Landor's handsome 
offer to the junta as a proof of the good-will and enthusiasm towards 
Spain which animates Englishmen ; and knowing from you the talents, for- 
tune, and character of that gentleman, I should have been mad or a fool 
myself had I been base enough to depreciate his exertions in so good a 
pause, who have myself descended from my own rank in the service to 
engage heartily in favor of Spanish liberty on Spanish ground. You 
were the bearer of a message to Mr. Landor expressing my regret for 
our departure at the moment of his arrival in Corunna ; and afterwards 
the same circumstance in Lugo would not permit me to show him the 
civilities I desired. I would willingly have furnished him with such 
recommendations to the army as I could give him ; and I actually re- 
quested General Broderick, when he passed through Lugo, to forward his 
efforts in the cause of Spain by every facility whicn his situation at head- 
quarters could command." * 


* The kind inclination I know to have been professed towards you by 
Mr. Stuart, and what he had learned from me of your fortune and talents, 
convince me that whenever he made use of those expressions in your hear- 
ing it must have been with respect to some other person. So highly did he 
think of your conduct that I know it was his intention to communicate to 
the Central Junta what you had done and offered to do in their favor, sug- 
gesting at the same time that they should give you some mark of their 
approbation or thanks. I ought to regret that under my name unpleasant 
language should have been conveyed to a gentleman for whom I have the 
most affectionate regard, and for whose talents I have the highest respect; 
but I rejoice in an occasion of relieving from a painful impression the feel- 
ings of an old school-fellow." 

* This is confirmed by several allusions to this general, and his friendly co-operation, 
in Landor's letters. When criticising Souther's history in one of his letters or March, 
1821, he writes: M The capture of Blake at Seville with all his army explains to me 
what I suspected. Genera] Broderick told me he could obtain no confidence from him. 
I replied, 4 Then have none in him.* Romana would have acted differently. I should 
be glad to see your reasons for the strange inaction of the Gallician army, when the 
French had fled across the Ebro." 

«. 30-391] *» SPAIN. Ul 


**I learn with much regret that I had the misfortune unintentionally to 
offend you at Corunna, and I hasten to clear up a mistake which appears 
to have given rise to sentiments in your mind very different from those I 
have always entertained respecting yourself, since I witnessed your conduct 
in this country. 

" I can assure you I do not recollect the conversation you state to have 
passed between myself and Don £. de Novoa the evening I saw you in the 
junta ; and I solemnly declare upon my honor that if such expressions fell 
from my lips, they neither applied to you nor to any friend of yours. I 
could not oppose or calumniate an undertaking which every motive of 
interest and zeal called on me to support : nor is it compatible with my 
character to hold language to the personal prejudice of any Englishman, 
knowing it to be false. I could not be ignorant of your talents, which are 
manifested in writings well received by the world and were evident from 
your conversation; our mutual friend Mr. Yaughan bore testimony to your 
fortune and rank in life ; and your character was fully proved by your ex- 
ertions in favor of Spain. I was myself embarked in the 6ame cause ; and 
having been commissioned by government to ascertain the wants of the 
Spaniards, and to transmit them particulars of every description until an 
envoy should be appointed, is it likely that I should counteract the zeal of 
others laboring to the same purpose ? 

" Though I never made a merit of language in your favor at the time, I 
feel now compelled to tell you that I repeatedly desired the junta of 
Corunna to hold up your conduct as an example to other individuals equally 
well disposed. The distance of Gallicia will not allow me to send you the 
assurance of Novoa that such is the case ; but I transmit the copy of a 
letter from the president of that junta who was present on the day you 
allude to, which (notwithstanding his mistakes) will prove the truth of my 
assertions. I have also written to Vaughan at Laregovia, who I doubt not 
will do the same. If, however, their letters are not sufficient to show that 
I am incapable of animosity to a person engaged in such a cause, I presume 
you will be convinced by the enclosed answer from the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs to a note I transmitted to the Central Junta detailing the services 
you have rendered to Spain. Honorary rank in their army can be no 
object to one in your situation; and though it is the only mode of distinc- 
tion hitherto conferred on any Englishman by the central government^ I 
should have declined their offer, had not the consideration that you may 
like a character giving you a right to repair to the head-quarters of their 
armies when you please induced me rather to wait for your own determi- 

" When Mr. Yaughan returns to Madrid on his way home, I shall request 
him to deliver to you the original letters which have passed on the subject ; 
and if they are satisfactory, I hope I may look forward to shake hands 
with you as a well-wisher of that country wherever we meet 

The letter of the president of the junta of Corunna, the Count 
Gimondi, proved the circumstances as I have stated them, and was a 
triumphant exculpation of Stuart ; the letter of the Spanish minister 
(Cevallos) conveyed to Landor, with handsome expressions of esteem, 
the honorary rank of colonel in the service of King Ferdinand ; and in 
the Madrid Gazette of a few days' later date were published the 



thankB of the Supreme Junta " to Mr. Landor," not alone for gallant 
personal service, but for his gifts of twice ten thousand reals in aid of 
Spanish independence and freedom. 

Not a great many years later, when the restored Ferdinand had 
restored the Jesuits, Landor sent back his commission in a letter to 
that same Don Pedro Cevallos, telling him that he had done his best 
for Spanish liberty against Napoleon, and could not oontinue even 
nominally in the service of a worse perjurer and traitor. 


The time when Landor again set foot in England was that of tbe 
arrival from Portugal of the news of the convention of Cintra, by 
which the entire French army, at the expense of the English govern- 
ment, had been safely conducted back to France. Sir Hew Dalrymple 
and Sir Harry Burrard were its authors ; and Sir Arthur Wellesley 
had not resisted it, though he had never given it his approval On 
all sides there were shouts of reproach. "But in spite of their 
allies," wrote Landor at his arrival to his friend, " the Spaniards will 
be victorious. Can we never be disgraced but the only good people 
in the universe must witness it ? Under the influence of what demon 
is it that we are forced to periodical wrecks of honor on the Spanish 
coast ? Lord Douglas sees me fall 1 If nothing personal had driven 
me home, still I could not have endured the questions of brave and 
generous Spaniards, — why we permitted the French to retain their 
plunder, why we placed them again in array against Spain, why 
we snatched them from the fury of the Portuguese, why we in- 
dulged them with more precious fruits than they could have gath- 
ered from the completest victory 1 * To which, after expressing his 
gladness at his friend's return, and referring to Stuart as its sup- 
posed principal cause in terms more offensive than Landor's own, 
Southey thus breaks out : " I am sure that for the first week after the 
news arrived, had Sir Hew Dalrymple appeared in any part of Eng- 
land, he would have been torn in pieces. My cry was, Break the terms 
and deliver vp the wretch who signed them to the French, with a rope 
round Ms neck ! This is what Oliver Cbomwbll would have done. 
O Christ! — this England, this noble country, — that hands so 
mighty and a heart so sound should have a face all leprosy, and a 
head fit for nothing but the vermin that burrow in it ! " That was 
pretty well, but was not all. He went on to say that he and Words- 
worth had been trying to get up a county petition against the 
" damned convention n ; but " Lord Lonsdale had received mum as the 
word of command from those who move his strings, and he moves the 
puppets of two counties." A court of inquiry to be sure was talked 
of, he says with scorn ; but the only court to do any good would be 
one that should send " the hand of Sir Hew Dalrymple to be nailed 
upon the pillory at Lisbon, and that of Sir Arthur Wellesley for a 



like exposition at Madrid " (!) And then, after sketching what Eng- 
land with better advisers might have done, he uses expressions that 
will perhaps help to make more lenient some judgments of Landor's 
modes of speech to be considered hereafter. u But nothing can or 
Till go on well in this country till the besom of destruction has swept 
the land clean. When Joseph gets back to Madrid, it would not sur- 
prise me if Spain were to produce a tyrannicide. He who Bhould do 
the deed should stand next to Brutus in my kalendar." * 

Other confidences had passed between the friends at this first inter- 
change of letters on Landor's return, which it will be only just to 
him also to quote, for such qualification or correction of remarks 
already made as they may fairly suggest They are themselves a 
curious comment on his recent flight into Spain. " I believe," he 
Bald, at the close of his letter, which bears the postmark of Novem- 
ber, 1808, " 1 should have been a good and happy man if I had mar- 
ried. My heart is tender. 1 am fond of children and of talking 
childishly. I hate to travel even two stages. Never without a pang 
do 1 leave the house where I was born. Even a short stay attaches 
me to any place. But, Southey, I love a woman who will never love 
me, and am beloved by one who never ought I do not say 1 shall 
never be happy. 1 shall be often so, if I live ; but 1 shall never be at 
rest My evil genius drags me through existence against the current 
of my best inclinations. I have practised self-denial, because it gives 
me a momentary and false idea that 1 am firm ; and 1 have done 
some other things not amiss, in compliance with my heart ; but my 
most virtuous hopes and sentiments have uniformly led to misery, 
and I never have been happy but in consequence of some weakness or 
some vice." To which Southey, at once laying bare the source of 
these self-accusings and self-exaltings, wisely as well as neatly replied 
that what he learnt from .Rousseau, before he laid Epictetus to his 
heart, was that Julia was happy with a husband whom she had not 
loved, and that Wolmar was more to be admired than St Preux. He 
hade no man beware of being poor as he grows old, but he would have 
all men beware of solitariness in old age. His advice to his friend there- 
fore was that he should find out a woman he could esteem, and love 
would grow more surely out of esteem than esteem would out of love. 

* The various passages and expressions here quoted are omitted from the letter as 
printed (Zi/V, HI. 195 - 198). Other omissions there are also, of which one having a per- 
sonal bearing may be subjoined : ** How has your health held out ? Even ordinary trav- 
elling in Spain requires a patient body to bear up against broken rest and heating food. 
1 am glad this beastly blockhead has been of so much use in the system of things as to 
force you home; your life would else in all likelihood have been sacrificed inade- 
quately. It was likely you might die a martyr; but there would be such an unfitness 
in your falling by the hand of a fool that I have no apprehensions upon that score.*' 
By the date of hts next letter (January, 1809), Landor had received Stuart's explana- 
tions. u Mr. Stuart has declared that he never could apply those expressions to me 
which I resented, and offers peace. I always accept this oner." It was a pity he did 
not regret at the same time the wrong he had plainly done. " The Central Junta," he 
adds, "has given me an honorary commission which confers the privilege of being 
always at head-quarters. I had taken leave of the generals and the government." 

146 bath, spain; and llanthony. ^SSiS?" 

wanting. Had ever a game been played bo wretchedly that might so 
easily have been won ? Had he seen Wordsworth's pamphlet on the 
Cintra convention 1 In spite of a difficult style, he would admire its 
true eloquence and true philosophy. Landor*s reply is highly char- 
acteristic It is dated August, 1809. 

"This work of Wordsworth is vigorous and just My opinion of the 
Spaniards is corrected by the experience of Moore. I believe no breed of 
people to be so good ; but they nave nothing to fight for, and nobody to 
lead them if they had. The heads of nations must often be stirred, and 
occasionally be removed. The water that one year is covered with lilies 
and lotuses, in another may contract a film, and in a few after may have 
nothing but weeds above and mud below. I like idle people, — they are 
not rapacious. It is from rapacity most evils originate. At all events it 
is not from working in the field of battle that the Spaniard is to procure 
more comforts ; and I cannot blame him if he sees on his farm a swarm of 
bees with more pleasure than a legion of locusts. All old governments 
are bad, and my breech shall never go to the ground by resting on one. 
We are a great people, because our constitution by eternal changes is 
exempt from any violent. It has always been pervious both to light and 
winds. Else, like those of France and Germany, it would have been up- 
rooted at the first tempest. Adieu. Vive valeque." 

From Clifton, in the November of the same year, he wrote still in 
much the same tone, with a shrewd perception of all the weakness of 
the Spaniards which his friend never reached, and with a resolute ap- 
preciation of the utter worthlessness of their leaders which it took 
many more years to make apparent to everybody. 

" May the spirit of prophecy never forsake you, and never be less propi- 
tious to the cause of freedom! The Spaniards, it appears, have gained 
another victory ; but as they have no prospect of a better government, I 
grieve perhaps more at their successes than I should at their defeat That 
such exertions should be vain and fruitless, that the patriotic should pour 
out their blood for the traitorous, that a Bonaparte or a Bourbon, it matters 
not which, should erect his throne over the great charnel-house of Spain, 
is most lamentable and most sure. Two events leave me without the 
power of doubting that the prevailing party in the Junta is devoted to the 
French. First, their hesitation and slowness to convoke the Cortes ; and 
secondly, the extreme absurdity which they combined with it of inviting 
all Spaniards to deliver their sentiments on what alterations and improve- 
ments it would be requisite to make in the government and constitution. 
To agitate the minds both of the wise and of the ignorant, to make every 
man's vanity turn out against his neighbor's, to bid people choose their rep- 
resentatives yet exercise their judgment by giving their votes individually, 
could not enter any sound head for any good purpose. The scheme was 
formed in the Tuileries, and is worthy of its author. See what a parcel of 
rascals and boobies have been appointed by the Junta to conduct their 
armies. Masaredo, a most excellent man and a most experienced officer, 
ioined the French through the love of freedom and from the desire of 
forming for his country an efficient and firm government Weakness and 
abuse he knew are often long-lived, though they come to a violent end ; 
and he thought it less disgraceful, as perhaps some others do, to writhe for 
a moment under superior strength than to slumber out all his days in a sty 
of his own littering. 


Nor leas remarkable is the remainder of the letter, where Landor'B 
discontent with the government at home which his friend was still 
outwardly condescending to support finds animated expression. He 
bad become in June of this year, at Southey's request, a subscriber 
to Coleridge's Friend, in the twelfth number of which, published in 
the month when his letter was written, appeared a paper on vulgar 
errors respecting taxes and taxation, wherein Coleridge contended 
that though taxes might often be injurious to a country, it could 
never be from their amount merely, but only from the time ox^ mode 
in which they were raised ; and, objecting to the analogy set up be- 
tween a nation indebted to itself and a tradesman under obligation to 
his creditors, had said a much fairer instance would be that of a hus- 
band and wife playing cards at the same table against each other, 
where what the one lost the other gained. Landor did not find this 
illustration quite satisfactory* 

u Woe betide those governors whose paralyzed hand holds out unwit- 
tingly this problem to their countrymen, — whether it is better to sink 
noder the ascendancy of exalted genius from without, however malignant 
be its influence, or to be so supine and idle as never to lift up their heads 
and use their arms against the scorpions that sting them or the spiders and 
cockroaches that consume them from their own window-shutters! For 
my own part I would buy a monkey, I would even bring one over, to 
devour these mischievous vile household insects. When rulers are so feeble 
or corrupt as to make men indifferent to their country, which never was 
done to so blind and precipitous a height as now, it is idle to talk of taxa- 
tion. But I cannot yet consider it so tranquilly as your friend Cole- 
ridge. If my wife wins my money at cards, and she is really a prudent 
wife, I sustain no detriment But if she squanders it among unworthy 
favorites, and bribes her servants with it to pull her neighbor's cap, I will 
take care in future to play less often and for a smaller stake. If taxes are 
at no time injuries * from their amount merely,' it is because, when they are 
exorbitant, the mode of raising them must be inquisitorial or violent May 
^"o not complain of a thing oppressive in itself, because there is also another 
thing which adds to the oppression ? Certainly no lady with £ 150 jointure 
and ?ix or eight children, who pays such taxes as she must at present do, 
cxrald by any human ingenuity in imposing or collecting them be made 
insensible of their pressure. I remember the logical swindling of your 
neighbor, Bishop Watson, and the hot but honest reply of poor Gilbert 
Wakefield. I remember too the crucem and the diadema. I never liked 
either of these writers. The one would never have made me a critic, nor 
the other a Christian, nor have induced me to think him so. As I never 
drink wine, I am forced every now and then to write half a dozen verses, 
that I may forget what is passing round about" 

But he continued, to write on the things also he most wanted to 
forget ; and these notices of his letters about Spain should not close 
'without mention of his " Hints to a Junta," which, as he told 
Southey in March, 1810, he had written fiercely but improvidently. 
" Many of the things were useful at the moment. It is gone by : in- 
deed I question if any bookseller would print the thing if I gave it 


him ; and I never will ask for anything except for heaven and a wife." 
Southey's next letter was very decisive of the influence of Landor 
over him. The conclusion* had been forced upon him, he said, that 
Bourbon was as bad as Bonaparte ; " Hints to a Junta " had not been 
thrown away on him ; and now more than ever he wished that, at the 
outset of the tYench invasion, Spaniards and Portuguese had sung 
Te JDeum for the loss of their respective dynasties and united in a 
federal republic. It was the form of government peculiarly adapted to 
the Peninsula, because of the different fueros of the different king- 
doms ; and other good must have come of it " It might, perhaps, 
have prevented this country from assisting them, but they would have 
been better without its assistance ; and it would not impossibly have 
occasioned a resurrection of the Jacobins in France," — in other 
words, have destroyed Napoleon. That was the temper in which, so 
late as 1810, Southey was preparing his second batch of history for 
the Edinburgh Register ; and Landor should see that it would be 
composed " with a spirit that will surprise most people in these base 
times." • 

And then a misgiving crosses him as he writes these words whether 
the eagerness with which he was now turning to that kind of com- 
position might not imply that history, not poetry, was his real func- 
tion after all, at any rate for the days that remained to him ; only 
(he adds with a pleasant touch of character) a proof-sheet of Kehama 
is apt to disperse the cloud. With this letter there went to Landor 
the commencement of his History of BraziU 

His friend replied and reassured him. No poet worth the name 
but must at times give way to thinking that there are poets enough 
in the world without him ; but let him be satisfied that a greater 
confidence would not imply greater power. For himself he lamented 
every hour that Southey deducted from poetry. Those who might 
read Kehama would judge whether its writer's present love for history 
could arise from anything like " incipient decay " in the powers of 
imagination. He knew not what poem was so vivid and so varied. 
Whereas he could not but doubt whether the world in general cared 
about historical facts in the past affairs of Brazil ; nay, whether even 
such facts of the day passing before them excited any interest what- 
ever. Very characteristically he proceeds : — 

" It is, I begin to think, for the good of mankind that for ten or twenty 
years it should first sink, and afterwards smart, under a severe and oppres- 
sive tyranny. The instrument Wants a good deal of playing upon. This 
will prove either that it is good for nothing or that it will come into tune 
by degrees. If I had five thousand pounds to employ people to collect 
papers, I would also write a history of the present reign. An insuperable 
idleness, and a disgust and satiety of everything, will, I am afraid, over- 
come all my faculties." 

\ Nevertheless, in the same letter of April, 1810, he tells his friend that 
\ he has just been writing a letter to the popular hero Burdett, a brave 



and good one ; five long hours' work, all of which he shall have to 
recopy. " Ah me ! this reminds me that you could not make out 
my Latin verses ! I wonder whether I shall be able myself to read 
/ my letter to Burdett when 1 see it to-morrow morning.* 9 Perhaps he 
/was not, for all trace of that production has vanished. But the 
mention of the Latin verses may take us to other parts of the cor- 
respondence of the friends, in which only matters of literature were 
discussed between them, 


The portions of letters contained in this section wjll relate chiefly 
to the poems which, resumed at Lander's instigation, Southey carried 
on to their completion steadily amid his other labors ; and they shall 
be such as I hope may still be interesting, or in some way character- 
istic of either Mend. There will at least be no repetition, in any of 
the extracts given, of what has before appeared in print. 



" Since my return from Spain I have hardly read anything else than the 
Cid and Kehama, It will be long before we nave such warriors as the one, 
and such poems as the other. I never felt the same anxiety to see the . 
whole of any work as of this. 

* Twice hast thou set thy footstep : 
Where shall the third be planted ? ' 

If the next parcel is eqnal to the two former, the riches of the East 
will vanish from the grasp of future poets. I am not destined to be a 
great reader. Many hours have I passed, at different times, over these 
lines: — 

• There Kailval stands 

And sees the billows rise above his head. 

She at the startling sight forgot the power 
The Curse had given him, and held forth her hands 

Imploringly, — her voice was on the wind, 

And the deaf ocean o'er Ladurkd closed.' 

"There are some things in our language which want fixing by some 
convention among the higher powers. Shakespeare and Milton write to- 
ward and toward. But improperly: for we say invariably backward, 
forward, and we ought also to say toward. I have in general given m< 
attention to language than to anything else ; but I shall always think 
self wrong in ' Bent towards them/ «c., at the end of a book in Gefkr. 
We possess a high advantage in the double termination of the third per- 
son singular, — es and eth. The former should never precede an «, nor the 
latter a th. To this rule I would adhere both inpoetry and prose. I hear 
no more of Mr. Coleridge's new project" [Tne Friend: of which the 
first number did not appear till June.] " Indeed I converse with no liter- 
ary men here, nor do I know for certain whether here are any." 


"When I can read what you send of Kehama more calmly and dispas- 
sionately, which I would hardly wish to do, I .will search it through and 



1805 - 14. 


through to discover the slightest of its imperfections. None of youi 
enemies shall be more zealous in the labor. One line not only displease* 
but disturbed me, 

* Eye hath not seen nor painter's hand portrayed.* 

I have an insuperable hatred to such words as ' painter ' and * portray ' ii 
grave heroic poetry : add to which, if ' eye hath not seen, 1 it is superfluous 
to say the rest. The first words are serious and solemn, — the last put one 
in mind of the Exhibition and the French. Take care how you ' o'erlaj 
this poem with ornament !' It is now suis pollens opibus, as Lucretius 
says of the Gods. I know not whether we shall find any one in any 
language so full of originality and fancy. You will find fewer things to 
embellish than to correct, and very few of these. Remember that I am to 
have something to console me for not being able to write it, I am to be 
the typographer." 

bouthet's reply. 

" Your draft was put in circulation. Kehama would never have been 
resumed had it not been for you. It had lain untouched for five years, 
and so it would have remained. You stung me to the resolution of going 
on ; and I am not sure whether the main pleasure which I have felt in 
proceeding has not been the anticipation of addressing it to you and say- 
ing so. It is announced through the customary channel of magazines as in 
considerable forwardness. I am going to Edinburgh in May, and for a 
I week or ten days shall be Walter Scott's guest Kehama will then (God 
Willing) be completed : and I think Scott will enable me to ascertain in 
what manner it may most advantageously be published. ... It has however 
cost me no expense of time. I have fairly won it, as Lincolnshire specu- 
lators win estates from the sea; — my daily work has been done just as if 
no such composition was in my thoughts, without the slightest interrup- 
tion. If therefore nothing be got by its sale, it has not made me the 
poorer. I am so much the happier for having written it, so much the 
richer as a poet, and in fact have received from you half as much as the 
profits of an edition would be when shared by a publisher. Its success (I 
speak solely of its market success) will only thus far influence me, that a 
good sale would make me afford more time for other such poems, which I 
should then publish as fast as they were written. Its still-birth (which I 
entirely expect) will merely make me write others as this is written, in 
the early morning hours ; which I shall continue to do as long as the un- 
abated power is in me, and leave them behind as post-obits to my children, 
\in perfect confidence that such manuscripts will prove good and secure 
Iproperty hereafter. At Edinburgh I shall feel my way about the publica- 
tion. When the obnoxious line was written, I thought of better painters 
than the exhibitioners, — of those whose creative powers entitle them to 
be mentioned anywhere. It is however an ugly word, because it always 
reminds one of the house-painter. I set a black mark upon the line. 
Your remarks shall be well weighed, and every passage which I cannot 
entirely justify shall be altered. Do not however be at the trouble of 
criticising the first portion which you received, for that has been greatly 
altered since by rhyming most of those parts which were rhymeless, — a 
task which is yet to be completed." 

Landor's former objection to the rhymeless Ynetres had led to this 
concession from his friend ; and speaking of it in his next letter he 


says that, apart from his admiration of the higher beauties of the 
poem, the facility displayed in the new rhymes had taken him greatly 
by surprise. " It never was equalled. New rhymeB in general seem 
strange ; and nine people out of ten, schblars I mean and literatists, 
imagine them forced, not chosen. No weakness or absurdity is half 
so much scoffed and scouted as a new or unusual rhyme." From the 
same letter we learn that he had been lately 


" I believe I shall remain at Bath a good while longer. I am reading 
what I had not read before of Euripides. Between ourselves, in most of 
his tragedies there is more preachment than poetry. I was surprised and 
mortified to find it so. How, in the name of Heaven, could the Athenians 
endure on the stage, so deplorably mutilated and metamorphosed, those 
heroes whom they had followed in the vigor of unsophisticated life through 
the wide and ever-varying regions of the Iliad and Odyssea t A hero, 
penned up and purgatorized in this middle state, is fitted to become a 

peared to me, what I suppose it is not, tautological though concise. I 
found it too hard for me. At that time my teeth were better, though my 
digestion not so good. I could reach the construction, but I could not 
analyze the parts." 

Very characteristic was Souther's next letter, in which he described 
Kehama as approaching completion so rapidly that already his thoughts 
were busy with what its successor should be. Two more sections 
only, he said, would finish what he had in hand ; and he was eager 
for Lander's advice as to the metre most advisable for his next poem, 
which should certainly be on the founder of the Spanish monarchy, 
/Pelayo. He could not but feel the force of views formerly expressed 
to him by Landor, that what in itself was excellent would be best* in 
blank verse, but that everything below excellence would borrow some- 
thing from rhyme. As to the publication of Kehama, Scott had failed 
as yet to make the hoped-for arrangement 

" His bookseller, Ballantyne, was here lately, and his advice to me was 
to sell the copyright of whatever I wrote, because, he said, booksellers re- 
paid themselves by selling off shares of the copyright More persons were 
thus interested in the success of the book, and consequently greater efforts 
were made to sell it This may be true, but it is a truth which is not appli- 
cable to my case ; for it is utterly impossible that this poem should become 
popular now. The copyright, therefore, is worth little or nothing at pres- 
\ ent ; and yet if it be as good as I believe it to be, there will come a time 
\ when it will have its reward. The better way, I think, will be to print it 
as a pocket volume, and let it take its chance. Two hundred pages will 
hold the poem, and about a hundred and fifty more the notes." 

A little delay is still interposed ; improvements have to be made 
in the metre, and lines to be altered or added here and there ; but at 




last, on the 26th November, 1809, he is able to announce to Landor 
that on the preceding day he had finished Kehamcu He did not 
expect that it would meet with more admirers than Gebir, but should 
be thoroughly satisfied if they whom it did meet with admired it as 
much. His work being done, he is full of fears for it There was 
<too little beauty, he doubted, and too little human interest ; and 
perhaps all the feeling it could be expected to awaken would be won- 
der at the strangeness of the tale and the monstrosity of the fiction. 
He can only comfort himself by looking forward, and resolving that 
Pdayo shall be begun as soon as his plan is sufficiently matured. 
Four days later Landor thus replied : — 

" Hardly could I assure myself that I was speaking with sincerity if I 
congratulated you on the completion of Kehama, on abandoning those 
scenes and images which must nave given such exquisite and enchanting 
pleasure as they were rising and passing in your mind. You are right in 
beginning another poem while the heart is warm with poetry. Pelayo and 
Richard the First are the two finest subjects in the world. I thought of 
Sertorius once; but, I know not how, it appears to me that nothing 
romantic or poetical can coexist with what is Roman. These two unfort- 
unate words slahoTup,' "backing one another against me and accusing me 
of a quibble. I meant simply to say that the Romans were a blunt flat 
people, and that even a Roman name breaks the spell of poetry on plain 
historical ground. Spain is even yet a sort of faeryland, and we are yet 
not too familiar with the faces of Goths and Moors. You possess here 
peculiar advantages. No other man in Europe has had so minute an 
insight of their history and character. 

"I perceive in many of the verses in Kehama a particular ring of rhyme, 

— a recurrence not marking, nor waiting for, the termination : such as we 

find in Italian : — 

4 Ma sento che adeeao 
V istesto non e.* 

Nor indeed is it always in the same place. In some instances it has not 
gratified my ear, coming upon it when it was unprepared. If the poem 
could be translated into any Oriental language, what a happy effect it might 
produce ! It would show them that puny conceits and weak extravagance 
are no requisites in poetry, and that wildness of imagery is not inconsis- 
tent with truth and simplicity of expression. I have read everything Ori- 
ental I could lay my hands on, and everything good may be comprised in 
thirty or forty lines. There is a prodigious deal of puckering and flouncing 
and spangles, but nothing fresh, nothing graceful, nothing standing straight 
upwards or moving straight forwards on its feet. I would rather have 
written the worst page in the Ody&sea than all the stuff Sir William Jones 
makes such a pother and palaver on ; yet what volumes would it fill ! what 
libraries would it suffocate 1 God forbid that I should ever be drowned in 
any of these butts of malmsey ! It is better to describe a girl getting a 
tumble over a skipping-rope made of a wreath of flowers." 

The rest of the letter, dated 30th November, 1809, was filled with 
a Latin idyl. Like Sir Roger de Coverley, Landor had been reading 
at the end of a dictionary, not like him an account of Hector, but the 
story of Callirhoe, who spurned the love of Coresus, priest of Bacchus, 

£C 30-39.] OH KBHAMA. AND BODBRIOK. 153 

whereupon he swore and prayed to his god, who visited her people 
with pestilence. In their affliction they betook themselves to Do- 
dona, when Jupiter announced that only the death of Callirhoe or 
some one in her stead could remove the curse, and Coresus was 
appointed to fulfil the command of Jove. But when Callirhoe stood 
before him at the altar, his revenge paled before his love and pity, 
and he drove the knife into his own bosom. Landor had written this 
pretty and pathetic story in excellent Latin hexameters,* close and 
dramatic, and now sent the first sixty-eight to his friend, sending the 
remaining sixty-two in a second letter after some weeks' interval, 
during which Southey had been silent. $ 

" I have been happy in the idea that you are employed in something in- 
teresting to yourself and the age and other selves and other ages, else I 
should have complained a little that I have not heard from you so very 
long a time. I remember that I transcribed some Latin verses in my last, , 
bat cannot find where I left off! Whether these are good or bad or indif- 
ferent, they are better than anything I can write on tne spur of the occa- 
sion, for these are spurs that always catch my great-coat in getting on. 
When I have done writing I shall find a thousand things I ought to have 
written about" 

Southey, alas ! had a good reason for not acknowledging the Latin 
idyl : he had not been able to decipher it, and very frankly doth con* 
fess so much. He had also been hoping to send Landor the first 
sections of Pelayo. His letter is dated March, 1810. 

" It is very long since you have heard from me, and for a twofold rea- 
son: first, because your verses tantalized me as a barrel of oysters would 
have done if set before me without a knife. I could not read them. There 
is little difficulty in understanding the worst possible handwriting in our 
own every -day language ; though I once saw two parcels which had trav- 
elled all over England, and at last found their way by the lucky guess of 
some post-office clerk, who wrote on them ' Try Durham ' : they had tried 
Dublin previously. But when a foresight of tne meaning is necessary to 
make out the words, anything not easy m itself becomes very difficult If 
I could have read these verses, I should have understood them ; because I 
did not understand, I could not read them. The case, however, is not des- 
perate : in some season of leisure I purpose transcribing them, and shall 
thus make them out step by step. 

"The other reason was that I might send you the first section of Pdayo y 
and this I have been prevented from completing because my hours for 
poetry have been partly employed in correcting Kehama, partly diverted to 
the pressing business of the Edinburgh Register. Kehama is half printed, 
and the remaining half still requires correction. I want to get rid of the 
snake in the water-chambers, which is neither well conceived nor well 
written ; and something is wanting at the conclusion. It will probably be 
published in June. I have made my usual bargain with the booksellers, — 
that is to say, no bargain at all : they print, and I share the proBts. 'Scott 
recommended strongly the quarto form, and quarto accordingly it is; my 
own opinion being that in whatever form it appeared a sale to clear the 
expense was certain, and anything beyond that exceedingly improbable." 

* It is the seventh of the Idvlla Herolca in Poemata et In$criplkmet (1847), and a 
translation by himself Is in the Hellenics (1S59), pp. 67 - 68. 


Pelayo, which took afterwards the name of Roderick, in whom its 
interest finally centred as the hero, went to Landor regularly as its 
predecessor, section by section, when once he had despatched the first. 
But still this was delayed, and with it the appearance of Kekama, 
Southey's doubts and misgivings suspending some of the sheets at 
press. In July, 1810, however, he promises the published poem in 
six weeks, saying that he thought it in structure, now he surveyed it 
as a whole, far superior to Tkalaba ; and though in most other re- 
spects he was afraid he did not himself like it quite so well, he held 
it to be a work sui generis. Like Gebir, it would find its own admir- 
ers, and Lander's preface on that point he had always sincerely echoed. 
Then in September he announced that the last proof had been cor- 
rected, that there will be yet a further delay of another six weeks, 
and that it was dedicated to his friend, but for whom it would never 
have been finished. To this (writing from Bath in October) Landor 
says he cannot hope from Kekama more pleasure than he has already 
derived from it, whatever new ornaments his friend may have added, 
and however exalted his own head may be by the chaplets and roses 
placed upon it. Nevertheless, as late as November he has again to 
ask : " Where is Kekama f" To which Southey replies : " Heaven 
knows what has become of Kekama. I look, and have for weeks and 
months daily been looking, for the advertisement. Longman has 
your Piil teney Street direction to Bend it by whenever it does appear, 
and I hope it will reach you before this." He adds that he thought 
to have accompanied it with an epistle to Landor in blank verse ; but 
that this remained still on the anviL Indeed, it was never finished, 
a simple prose dedication taking its place. 

In the same letter (17th December, 1810) he asks Landor for his 
Latin Alcaics, his friend having told him that he had written some to 
the ex-king of Sweden, the deposed Gustavus, and ordered a very 
few to be printed. He is also to send him his Simonidea; if he can 
by any influence command a copy, having himself in vain endeavored 
to obtain one from London. That was another of Lander's hasty, 
impetuous, private publications, containing some charming Latin verse 
and several English pieces to lone' and Ianthe.* 

* Lander's reply described it " There are many things of which I am ashamed in 
the Simonidea. I printed whatever was marked with a pencil by a woman who loved 
me, and I consulted all her caprices. There is a sneer, of which I am heartily ashamed, 
at Mr. Grant, Mr. Heber, and Lord Strangford. But is it not a cursed galling thing to 
hear a woman (who is soul and senses to one) tell me to write like these? She had 
rend no better and few other poets. I added some Latin poetry of my own, more pure 
in its Lntinity than in its sentiment But the Pvdoru Ara is incomparably the best 
poetry I have been able to write. Adieu; and when you read the Simonidea, pity and 
forgive me." Whether Southey received it does not clearly appear. He makes no 
mention of it But it most probably reached him, as he acknowledges the Ode to Gw- 
tavtu which had been sent along with it from the printing-press of valpv, asking him 
what was the meaning of the monogram in its title-page, and saying he never read his 
Latin without wishing it were English, and regretting that he was ever taught a lan- 
guage so much inferior to his own. To this Landor replied in his following letter (Feb- 
ruary 5. 1811): "You inquire what is the meaning or the monogram. I looked at it. 
Surely it is a digamma; a puerile sort of practical pun, invented by Yalpy no doubt 


" Thanks, a thousand and a thousand," replying to that December 
letter Landor sends him for Kekama, which had arrived at last. 
" How am I delighted that the man, whom above all others I would 
wish to know me thoroughly, sees through me ! The inscription is 
most suitable to my taste ; and if I may think of myself somewhat 
magnificently, which I was never disinclined to do, most honorable to 
yours." In the following month, writing still from Bath, he says Ch. 
Burney had borrowed the book of him, and admired it not less en- 
thusiastically than himself He describes himself at the time, how- 
ever, as out of humor with everything but Southey and his poem, 
and proceeds to show it by a remark on the notes : — 

"One thing I confess to you fills me with astonishment: how you can 
write such poetry and admire, when to endure would be immeasurably too 
much, the flimsy and fantastic Spenser. Milton did too; but our lan- 
guage in his time had little good in it, except a few contracted passages, 
beside the works of Shakespeare. Chaucer is much better than any of 
the rest, — a passably good novelist but hardly to be called a poet." 

These heresies he abated greatly afterwards, but never quite got 
rid of. His ill-humor at the politics of the day and the kind of 
government England then had, vented in the same letter, underwent 
little subsequent abatement or change : — 

" If Bonaparte were not the worst and most execrable of human beings, 
sure people would hardly lift a hand up to save these rascals who are 
dividing our property. It is better to yield to force only than to have 
one's ribs bent together between force and fraud." 

Upon these various points Southey has in turn, of course, some- 
1 thing to say. As to Kchama, which Scott is going to review for next 
I Quarterly, he is glad of Burney's good opinion, as one which has 
weight in the world. Him he had met only once ; but he had a fa- 
miliar acquaintance with his brother the captain, meeting him at Rick- 
man's, where they and their host and Charles Lamb would make bad 
puns the whole night through. Notwithstanding Pelayo, another 
poem is already working in his brain, with a son of Goffe the regi- 
cide for its hero ; and he has been writing for the coming Quarterly 
on Captain Pasley's book, which he would fain make " our political 
bible."* Landor^s heresy about Spenser, however, he cannot over- 
It serves as an initial instead of v. Grammarians tell us that it was pronounced so. I 
fancy they lie. Certain it is the Romans substituted the v when they assumed some 
▼ords to which the digamma was affixed or inherent, — vinum, sylva, «o. The Greeks, 
I imagine, pronounced it as a double u. B seems in many countries to serve occasionally 
is v. — Viscaia, &c. The modern Greeks read woAu^Xoiovot© for *oAv0Ao«*0oto, giving 
the diphthongs as faint a sound almost as the French do." 

* A letter from Walter Birch was received just at this time, which, for its acknowl- - 
edgment of the Latin Odes by Landor (to Gustavus of Sweden, &c), now sent forth 
Uionymously, for other points it touches on, and for its agreement with Southey as to 
Pasley's book, may be read with interest. " Dear Landor, thank you for your ele- 
gant Latin Odes, of which I did not know you to be the author till this morning. I 
tend vou in return some verses which I wrote for the Examiner at Oxford, which 
will snow how far I agree with you. Their tone was not quite coincident with the 





look. Inferior he admits him to be to Chaucer, who for variety of 
power had no competitor but Shakespeare ; but of English versifica- 
tion he is incomparably the greatest master in the language. As for 
our having had little poetry before Milton, Southey thinks rather 
that there had been little since. What there was in the earlier time, 
at any rate, was sterling sense in sterling English, with thought and 
feeling in it ; whereas now the surest way to become popular was to 
have as little of either ingredient as possible. " Campbell's success 
is a notable example."* 

Landor shows some kind of fight for his heresies, notwithstanding. 
But first he- declares his amazement at the new poem his friend is 
planning (" the War of the New-Englanders, the principal character 
a Quaker " !) as what no other man alive would be bold enough to 
undertake. And how in any case will he ever manage to write twp 
poems at one and the same time 1 

"To dictate to half a dozen secretaries, in as many languages, is a trick; 
but to do it at once is a difficult one. How you can write two poems at 
a time I cannot conceive. I could write history and poetry, but I could 
not divide my passions and affections. When I write a poem my heart 
and all my feelings are upon it I never commit adultery with another; 
and high poems will not admit flirtation. 

" I should like to talk about Spenser with you, and to have the Faery 
Queen before us. Passion can alone give the higher beauties of versifica- 
tion. Shakespeare, who excels all mortals in poetry, excels them all in 
verse frequently ; but I am convinced he formed erroneous opinions on 
the subject, and that he preferred a stiff and strutting step systematically, 
and was peat only when he was carried off his legs in spite of himsel£ 
In my opinion there is more transcendent poetry in Shakespeare than in 
all the other poets that have existed since the creation of the world, and 
more passages filled with harmony from its inspiration. Immeasurably as 
I prefer Chaucer to Spenser, I cannot as a poet, — a great one is here 
understood, — because ne never comes up to the ideal so well exprest by 
Horace : * meum out pectus inaniter angit? &c The language of Chaucer is 
the language of his time ; but Spenser's is a jargon. Si o, I do not think 
we had little good poetry before Milton. Some truly pure grains of gold 
were carried down by the streamlets in rude old times, ill exchanged for the 
tinsel which we are just removing from ours. The English nation was in all 
respects at its highest pitch of glory in the times of Shakespeare and 
Hooker. Chivalry had forgotten all the follies of its youth : it retained its 
spirit^ and had lost only its austerity. The Tudors, those blackguard and 

desponding spirit attributed to some of Lord Granville's party, or I did not mean that 
it should be so. I have lately been reading with high interest a publication 'entitled 
An Essav <m Ike Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire, by Captain 
Pasley, K. E. It appears to me to be a noble work, and calculated to be more useful 
than any political publication I have seen since the days of Burke. I have also been 
much interested in Sir R. Wilson's book, notwithstanding some little ambition of style 
and other defects of no great consequence; but for which the Edinburgh Meview wilL 
I have no doubt, give him a trimming. By the by, did you read Coplestonc's second 
reply to the Edinburgh Reviewers ? I really never saw a more decisive and triumph- 
ant piece of controversy. I have not yet seen Southey's poem, but hope to do so be- 
fore long. Believe me, dear Landor, yours very affectionately, W. Butcn." 
* Omitted in the imperfect copy printed in the Life, IIL 295. 

jer. 30-39.] ON KEHAMA AND RODERICK. 157 

beastly Welsh, had never infected the mass of English mind. People 
read ; and to our national manliness a little was now added of Roman 
dignity. I am going on as if I had nothing else to do or say." 

Leaving unnoticed the close of this letter, Southey replied upon 
its opening remark, that his ability to think of two poems at once 
proceeded from weakness, not from strength. The continuous ex- 
citement Landor had lately gone through in the composition of a 
tragedy, he could not stand : in him it would not work itself off, as 
with Landor, in tears ; the tears would flow while in the act of com- 
position, and they would leave behind a throbbing head and a whole 
system in the highest state of nervous excitability, which would soon 
induce the most fearful form of disease. This was a dream that 
always haunted Southey. Not, alas, wholly without reason, as after- 
wards appeared. 

The tragedy referred to had been written in the interval covered 
by these letters, and will be the subject of the next section. To this 
will now only be added such fresh allusions to Pdayo in its progress 
as may be read independently, and other matters incidentally arising 
that have in them some personal interest. 

One of Southey's letters in 1810 told Landor a melancholy story 
of a young Bristol poet who had died at nineteen, cherishing to the 
last a hope that his poems, printed after his death, might save a sister 
from destitution. They had been sent to Southey. 

" Thirty years ago they would have been thought wonderful, — neither 
you nor I wrote better at nineteen, perhaps not so well, — but what can 
be produced at nineteen except promises of after-excellence, which serve 
only to give one the heart-ache when the blossom has been cut off? I do 
not know the family j *but I am exerting myself earnestly to make this 
poor bequest productive." 

To which Landor answered : — 

"I grieved at your account of poor William Roberts; and the more as 
among all mv friends I hardly know one on whom I can reckon as a sub- 
scriber for his poems. Plenty of people will say poor fellow ! and moralize 
and sentimentalize. It is better to go to the devil than hear or hazard 
their hypocrisy. Pray write again, and tell me how I can forward two 
or three guineas to his friends without wounding their tenderness or their 
pride. It may be long before the work is printed ; and, if they wait for 
twelve hundred subscribers, never. I went to Bristol the morning I re- 
" ceived your letter, and am ashamed to say did nothing. I want dexterity, 
and never did anything right except in moments of great danger. Then 
instinct prevails. 

In one of the letters immediately following he is still talking of 
the poem of which Southey has sent him the dedication : — 

" My feelings are hardly more gratified by*the marks of kindness and 
distinction you confer on me than by the exalted pleasure I receive from 
the perfection of the work. ... 1 like to talk of myself to you, though 
no earthly being is so universally silent as I am on his hopes and fears and 




speculations. I confess to you, if even foolish men had read Gebir, I should 
have continued to write poetry ; — there is something of summer in the 
hum of insects. I like either to win or to extort an acknowledgment of 
my superiority from all who owe it No others owe this so sincerely and 
indisputably as those who write against me. I am informed two or three 
people have done it Of these I have only seen one, and he calls me by- 
names which Mr. Pitt would have said, or might have said, are quite irrele- 
vant. I forget whether cuckold or pirate, but something I am sure as little 
concerned with poetry." 

Southey promptly replied with genuine sympathy and wise advice. 
He spoke of what had prevented Gebir from being read by the fool- 
ish. No doubt it was too good for them, but it was also too hard. 
Of course they could not understand it, but they did not find mean- 
ing enough upon its surface to make them even fancy they under- 
stood it. Why should he not display the same powers upon a 
happier subject, and write a poem as good and more intelligible? 
Yet very certain was it after all that Gebir had really excited more 
attention than its author seemed to be aware of. For instance, two 
manifest imitations had appeared, — Rough's play, and the first part 
of Sotheby's Saul To which Southey added all about his own 
review of it in the Critical, and what a laugh he had had in connec- 
tion with it at Gifford, the editor of the new Review of which the 
first numbers were lately out : — 

" When Gifford published his Juvenal, one of the most base attacks that 
ever disgraced a literary journal was made upon it in the Critical Review, 
by some one of the heroes of his Baviad. Gifford, who gives way to all sorts 
of violence in his writings,* wrote a desperate reply, in which he brought 
forward all the offences of the Review for many years back, and one of 
those offences was its praise of Gebir!" 

At last, in July, 1810, Southey sent to Landor, in six closely writ- 
ten folio columns, the first section of Roderick, or as he continues for 
some time to call it, Pelayo. The subject at the outset inthralls him, 
and he has a second sight of what its course and treatment is to be, 
with which he is more than satisfied. The received legend of Rod- 
erick's escape from the battle-field and dying in penitence at Visen 
is that which he means to follow ; discarding his alleged abode at 
Nazareth, and other stories out of the miracle-shops ; and what effect 
he means at the last to produce by bringing together him and Florinda 
and Count Julian, his friend shall see. Nor shall this be his only 
achievement. Landor has laughed him a little out of his Quaker 
hero ; but his brain seethes and teems with other subjects. He has 
visions of a poem built on the Zendavesta, wherein the evil powers 
should be leagued against a son of the great king, and, by every new 

* In the imperfect copy of thisjetter in the Life (lit. 228-281) these words and the 
M desperate " reply are altogether omitted. One of the other omissions at the close of 
the letter is touching, and worthy to be kept: " God knows I do not begin to be 
aweary of the sun, and yet the wish which I most frequently express is, that the 
century were oyer, and tnat I and mine had all reached our haven of eternal rest" 

jet. 30-39.] ON KKHAKA AND RODERICK. 159 

calamity inflicted upon him, should evolve in him some virtue which 
his rank had stifled, till it would end in his abandoning Persia in 
company with a Greek slave, the philosopher of the story, and be- 
coming a citizen of Athens. And something of this and other pro- 
jects * he now tells his friend that he may wind up with an adjura- 
tion to him, with his full leisure and abundant power, to do likewise, 
and thus leave behind him what distant generations would take 
delight in, — other Gebirs with happier fables. 

Landor's reply took Southey somewhat by surprise, for it announced 
that he had at intervals been writing other things beside Latin Idyls 
and Alcaics, Hints to Juntas, Simonideas, and Letters to Burdett, 
and that among them was a tragedy with Coimt Julian for its hero ! 
What other feeling also arose to Southey as portions of the tragedy 
were sent to him, we shall shortly see ; but when, after a few months, 
all was completed and before him, he could not but survey with some 
despondency his own Pelayo. He talked of compressing some parts 
of it, and said it was well that their conceptions of all the historical 
personages were so entirely unlike, as he should inevitably have been 
deterred from proceeding. With eager and frank reassurance Landor 
replied. In the portions just sent to him he perceived the same strain 
of high impassioned sentiment, proper' and peculiar to the character 
on which it was to act. The poem would be different from Southey's 
former efforts in a greater degree than any two epic poems known to 
him, however remote their ages. 

" I do not see what you can compress in this part of Pelayo. If you 
take away too many leaves you starve the blossoms. There is a light 
luxuriant arborescence, which shows the vigor of the roots and stem, and 
answers for the richness of the fruit As I live, I have written three 
verses! made so by a stroke of the pen." f 

Nor was this a loftier strain of eulogy than the subject of it fairly 
challenged. Some of the noblest parts of Roderick are remarked on 
here: — 

" I have read, and I know not when I shall cease reading, the incompar- 
able description of Roderick's wanderings and agony. What are those of 
jEneas or Ulysses in comparison ? The story of Adosinda is heart-rending. 
When I have looked long enough at the figures of great painters, I dwell 
on the landscape. It is only the great ones who make it strikingly pecu- 
liar and appropriate. We wish for more, yet are conscious that we ought 

* One of these I extract in greater detail from another of Southey's unpublished 
letters. It was a poem that he felt would be more difficult of execution than Kchama, 
if he should ever feel at leisure to execute it. It was to paint such a future state as 
should be consistent with the reason and hopes of the wisest and best men. " An 
earthly story must be chosen, in order to have the interest of earthly passions ; but the 
point of view should be from the next stage of existence. Perhaps this is not very 
intelligible. Such as it is, however, it is the seed from which I am confident a fine 
tree might arise." 

t u There is a light luxuriant arborescence 

Which shows the vigor of the roots and stem, 

And answers for the richness of the fruit." 




not to wish it In the beginning of the'sheet, the scene of the pine forest* 
is a perfect example of what I mean. I hope you will meet with no more 
interruptions.* I am fortunate ; for I never compose a single verse within 
doors, except in bed sometimes. I do not know what the satirists would 
sav if they knew that most of my verses spring from a gate-post or a mole- 
hill. Many hundreds, as good at least as any I have written, I have fore- 
borne to write for want of a pencil or a dry seat." 

The letter from Southey which accompanied the sixth book of 
Ptlayo is a comment on the most critical part of this masterly poem, 
and on the reasons that led to the form it finally assumed, too curious 
and interesting to be lost : — 

" 1 know nothing like this book in poetry ; but there is something like it 
in romance. Gyron le Courtoys y a book which has some of the best and 
some of the worst things of chivalrous romance, has something which is so 
far like it that great part of the hero's former history is related to himself. 
It has a very good effect there, though there is no passion connected with 
it ; and I was led to this mode of back narrative by the natural and neces- 
sary course of my own story, not by imitation. Least of all things am I 
an imitator ; though you will see that I have borrowed something from. 
Count Julian. 

" The next book is nearly finished. I believe I must go back to the fifth, 
and interpolate a passage introductory of Egilona, whose death I think of 
bringing forward in Book VIII., and in whose character I must seek for such 
a palliation of the rape of Florinda as may make Roderick's crime not so 
absolutely incompatible with his heroic qualities as it now appears. The 
truth is that in consequence of having begun the story with Roderick* I 
have imperceptibly been led to make him the prominent personage of the 
poem, and have given hi™ virtues which it will be very difficult to make 
consistent with his fall. .... 

" I shall soon have two more books to send you, when I have fitted in 
two passages which must be interpolated in the earlier part of the poem. 
The way is opening before me ; and now the further I get, the more 
rapidly I shall proceed, for the sake of getting to the conclusion, which will 
be full of fine things. The Spaniards will never forgive me for making 
their Virgin Mary at Covadinga into Adosinda, and performing the miracle 
by human means." 

Acknowledging this in November, 1812, Landor writes : — 

" I have now received two detachments of Pdayo since I wrote, which 
proves that one sits much more quiet and idle under pleasurable sensations 
than even under those which are indifferent. In the mean time I have 
written a score silly things to a score silly people. . . . The more I read 
of PelayOj the more arduous the undertaking seems to me ; but at the same 
time the strength with which it is carried on increases. People have 
formed their opinions of heroic poetry from Homer and his successors. 

* Referring to what Southey had written on the 10th October, giving an amusing 
picture of how he wrote his epics : " You would have had a book of JPelajjo ere this, hnd 
not Gooch very unconsciously prevented me. He happens like myself to rise about 
seven, and found his way Into my library as early as I did. Now'poetry is the only 
thing which I cannot compose if any person be present; because voice, gestures, and 
eyes require a freedom which the sense of any human presence would restrain. What 
has been written since my return, if it be not good, deceives me grievously; for I never 
produced anything under the influence of deeper feeling." 

£& 3<>-39l] ' ON KKHAMA AKD BODERIOK. 161. 

AH who have followed Homer have failed deplorably. Virgil is great only 
where he has not followed him. You will not persuade any one that any- 
thing is heroic without kicks and cuffs. All can enter into the spirit of a 
battle, and perhaps the timid man likes it most of all from a consciousness 
of security ; there are very few who will feel at heart what Pelayo feels. 
and fewer still who will follow up with intensity all the vicissitudes or 
Roderigo. How many, how nearly all, of our poets and critics will read 
these concluding lines as if they were common ones 1 

* Roderick alone appeared 
Unmoved and calm; for now the royal Goth 
Had offered his accepted sacrifice. 
And therefore in his soul he felt that peace 
"Which follows painful duty well performed — 
Perfect and heavenly peace— the peace of God.' 

The language is so plain and the sentiment so natural, that I am the only 
man in England who knows the full value of them. You yourself would 
only find it out in the writings of another." 

A Verted criticism may be worth preserving : — 

u In one place you have written forsook as the participle. Now I am very 
jealous of the participles. I would not write 'it was held/ but 'it was 
holden * ; although custom authorizes both, and rather (in late years) has 
preferred the former. I wish to see our language perfect in your works ; it 
is Tery far from perfect in any other of our poets." 

To which Southey : — 

" Your remark about the participles is right ; and when t have written 
incorrectly, it has been [in] virtue of a privilege which, in spite of all prece- 
dent, is best honored in the disuse." 

Nor should a pleasant note be lost on the introduction of Roder- 
ick's dog (which Southey, by the way, did not improve by substitut- 
ing Theron for Whitefoot in the poem as printed) : — 

" Resting his head upon his master's knees, 
Upon the bank beside him Whitefoot lay," 


" Though the dogs," said Landor, " are the best people among us, the 
fastidiousness of poetry rejects their names. Homer has given none 
to the dog of Ulysses, though Ovid has Bignalized every cur that de- 
Toured Actaeon." 

His last letter on Southey's manuscript from which I shall quote 
for the present has a touch of personal significance. 

" Certainly this last section of Pelayo is the most masterly of alL I could 
not foresee or imagine how the characters would unfold themselves. I could 
have done but little with Florinda and with Egilona, taking your outline ; 
jet 1 could have done a good deal more with them than any other man 
except yourself For I delight in the minute variations and almost imper- 
ceptible shades of the female character, and confess that my reveries, from 
my most early vouth, were almost entirely on what this one or that one 
would have said or done in this or that situation. Their countenances, 
their movements, their forms, the colors of their dresses, were before my 


162 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONT. C rt£-«£ 1 ' 


" One reason why we admire the tragedies of the ancients is this, we never 
have had our images broken by the iconoclast effort of the actors. Within 
my memory we never have had any worthy of the name; but I feel con- 
vinced that Garrick himself, who was probably the greatest that ever lived, 
would not have recompensed me for the overthrow and ruin of my Lear," 

A kind of practical comment on this will now be laid before the 
reader in letters written during the composition of Count Julian, and 
the weakness as well as the strength which Landor carried to the en- 
terprise of writing a tragedy will be seen. That the natural bent of | 
his genius went strongly in the direction of the drama, as he seems 
himself at all times to have felt with greater or less vividness, there 
is no doubt. The old Greek had not a more unquestionable power 
than his of giving objective shape to the most subtle and the most 
ethereal fancies, and this in itself involves a very intense element of 
the drama. Where any marvel occurs in Gebir, there is no doubt 
about it ; it is actually there, and to be seen. Transfer thjs to the 
drama, assume that a passion is to be represented, and by the same 
power there it is ; not mere language describing it, but the thing 
itself, and language only as the effluence or outbreak of the thing. 
In the abstract there cannot be a higher form of the dramatic than 
this, and it holds to a large extent even in what may be called the 
concrete, the details of the scene. Because, no doubt, at a play it is 
from other arts than the poet's that what is mainly material should 
reach us. Strictly speaking the poet might claim to be entirely dis- 
charged from any part of the office of setting forth, before an audi- 
ence of spectators, what already is or ought to be visible to them. 
But unassailable as this is in theory, in practice it is not found to be 
possible, and all kinds of descriptive and other indulgences have to be 
brought in aid of the purely dramatic. The result expresses just 
the concession or compromise which the stage requires from the 
drama, which Shakespeare understood as he understood everything, 
and which even such writers as Landor and Lamb comprehend im- 
perfectly, when they object to the stage presentation of Lear. Lear 
was written to be played ; and its author, we may safely affirm, 
would rather have seen it acted, however wretchedly, in a barn, than 
heard it read to perfection in a palace. Landor tells us in this letter 
that he delights in " the minute variations and almost imperceptible 
shades " of character, and that he has " countenances, movements, 
forms, the very colors of dresses," before his eyes as he writes. Doubt- 
less it was so. No one conceives a character more vividly, or puts it 
more expressively in action. Each has a distinguishing mark and a 
specialty of utterance, the look that none else should jrive, the lan- 
guage that none other so appropriately could use. He described it 
himself on another occasion in saying to Southey that he could never 
publish a poem that contained any character of a human being until 
he had lived two or three years with that character, and that he left 
off Count Julian and his daughter twice because each had said things 


which other personages might say. But though all this may seem to 
raise a perfect ideal, the practicable is another thing. Too little is 
left for the art of the actor, and too much for the imagination of the 
audience. We may get at the most magnificent results too quickly, 
when all the little intermediate steps have been overlooked. It may 
indeed be the smallest part of genius that is thus wanting to com- 
plete upon the stage its highest manifestations, but the fact admits 
of no dispute that to the highest without it the stage is inaccessible. 
An example is about to be afforded than which there have been few 
nobler, that no given number of scenes, each of the first order of 
dramatic genius, will constitute a play. Let the characters, as here, 
be all marked and all in position ; let the passions be at their high- 
est, and always at work ; let the situations even be the best ; but 
unless there is also obtainable from the story an interest of quite 
another kind than that which, by creative rather than merely appre- 
ciative power, the audience must elicit for themselves, there will be 
no tragedy in the true sense of the word. There will only be a suc- 
cession of dialogues. In all the various "scenes," however, and in all 
the "conversations," through which, from the beginning to the close 
of his life, and under every " imaginary " form, Landor's, genius has 
most delighted to express itself, none have higher claims to admira- 
tion, or will better reward faithful study, than those of Count Julian. 


The period of the tragedy is supposed to be that which imme- 
diately preceded the final defeat and mysterious fate of the last of 
the Gothic kings of Spain, when his most powerful noble Count 
Julian, whose daughter he had by violence dishonored, to avenge that 
wrong brought back into his native land the Moorish hosts whom he 
had just gloriously driven out, overthrew the monarchy, and delivered 
oyer his country to the infidel. A more tragical conception nowhere 
exists. In its isolated grandeur indeed it is rather epical than tragic ; 
and there is a fine passage in one of Mr. De Quincey's essays where 
he speaks of the tortures inflicted in old Rome, in the sight of shud- 
dering armies, upon a general who had committed treason to his 
country, as not comparable to Lander's fancy of the unseen tortures 
in Count Julian's mind ; " who — whether his treason prospered or 
not ; whether his dear outraged daughter lived or died ; whether his 
king were trampled in the dust by the horses of infidels, or escaped 
as a wreck from the fiery struggle ; whether his dear native Spain 
fell for ages under misbelieving hounds, or, combining her strength, 
tossed off them, but then also himself, with equal loathing from her 
shores — saw, as he looked out into the mighty darkness, and 
stretched out his penitential hands vainly for pity or pardon, nothing 
but the blackness of ruin, and ruin that was to career through cen- 
turies. " 

164 Bath, spain, awd llanthont. ^SS*,!! 1 " 

The characters grouped around this central figure have each an 
individuality strongly marked, but all subserve to a common purpose. 
From every point they draw Julian only closer and closer within the 
meshes of misery which love for his daughter had woven round him 
first, and in which all his other virtues since have but the more 
despairingly involved him. It is the old story of crime propagating 
crime ; of evil failing ever to expiate evil ; and of blind necessity, out 
of one fatal wrong, reproducing wrong in endless forms of retaliatory 
guilt and suffering. 

The tragedy opens at the moment when, though the extent of his 
successes over his countrymen has alarmed Julian, nothing is yet 
decisive, and there seems still a chance for the old monarchy. The 
outrage had been done upon his daughter Covilla, in the absence of 
her betrothed Sisabert, who, upon his return in ignorance of what had 
passed, finding her separated from him and her father in arms against 
Spain, believes Julian to be simply aspiring to the throne, and for a 
time joins Roderigo against him. The gleam of success emboldens 
the hard-pressed king to attempt conciliation. Imploring 'Julian to 
wipe out his treason against Spain by a second treason against his 
Moorish confederates, he proposes to divorce his wife Egilona, himself 
to marry the wronged Covilla, and to divide with the father his 
daughter's throne. Julian rejects these overtures with scorn ; but 
Muza, the cruel and arrogant Moorish chief, suspects him to have 
yielded, and Roderigo's wife, believing her divorce to be resolved on, 
accepts the love of Abdalazis, Muza's more generous son. This is the 
position at the opening of the third act, when Sisabert's discovery of 
the truth as to his betrothed joins again his arms to those of Julian, 
who accomplishes the triumph of the Moor. Roderigo is now at 
Julian's feet, and is spurned by him ; but Spain is in the hands of the 
Infidel, who continues to watch with distrust the victorious renegade, 
and believes he will yet prove traitor again. Julian meanwhile has 
been found by Roderigo inaccessible to mercy. The conqueror per- 
mits him to live only that life may become to him a burden ; and 
while the fallen king still piteously pleads to be permitted to atone 
his wrong, the terrible sentence is pronounced which separates eter- 
nally the wrongdoer and his victim, sending Covilla to the convent's 
peace and Roderigo to the penance of the felon. Ignorant of what 
has really passed, however, even the most generous of the Moors 
drops away from Julian when he hears that the defeated king bas 
been suffered to escape with life ; and Egilona, blinded by her 
jealousy and love, and who has witnessed the departure at the same 
time from the camp of both Roderigo and Covilla, denounces Julian 
to the Moorish commander as having yet the purpose to continue the 
throne of the Goths to his daughter and her betrayer. Throughout 
every scene, whatever else its ebb or flow of passion, Julian has to 
bear the brunt of suffering and sorrow. High above the rest still 
towers that shape of solitary pain, to which all converge, whether in 


love or hate, with fruitless effort to overstep the abyss that has 
eternally parted him alike from foe and frienl Such hopes as ani- 
mate the rest from seen* to scene exist but to show that from him 
hope is gone forever ; and the tragedy closes as the intelligence is 
brought to him that, for the supposed act of treachery which he has 
not committed, his wife and two sons have been murdered by the 
Moor whom his victories bad made master of his native land. 

I propose now, as was done with Gebir, to fill in this outline of the 
story by a series of passages exhibiting the varieties of power and 
beauty with which its tragic scenes are written. Landor's style is 
here at its best; and contemporary poetry has nothing to show 
beyond Count Julian in purity or in grandeur. 

In the first scene Opas, metropolitan of Seville, has found admit- 
tance to Julian's tent, ostensibly to induce him to see his daughter, 
but with the secret desire that his intercession may yet ward off the 
last meditated stroke of vengeance. Not unmoved but resolute is 
Julian's reply. He knows that by what already he has done. 

u My fan* feme in after-time 
Will weir an alien and uncomely form. 
Seen o'er the cities I have laid in dust" 

But, until the tyrant is hopeless and beggared as himself, there can 
be no peace or comfort for him, and no child. The rejoinder of Opas, 
interceding with Julian for those to whom the war will bring unmiti- 
gated horrors, is one of the many evidences afforded throughout the 
Bcenes of Landor's recent personal experience of Spain. 

"No pity for the thousand, fatherless, 
The thousands childless like thyself, nay mora, 
The thousands friendless, helpless, comfortless. . . • 
Such thou wilt make them, little thinking so, 
Who now perhaps, round their first winter fire. 
Banish, to talk of thee, the tales of old. 

Shedding true honest tears for thee unknown 1 

is De 
jh mgie t 
If only warlike spirits were evoked 

Precious De these and sacred in thy sight. 
Mingle them not with blood from hearts thus Hn dr 

By the war-demon, I would not complain, 

Or dissolute and discontented men; 

But wherefore hurry down into the square 

The neighborly, saluting, warm-clad race, 

Who would not injure us, and cannot serve; 

Who, from their short and measured slumber risen, 

In the faint sunshine of their balconies, 

With a half-legend of a martyrdom 

And some weak wine and withered grapes before them, 

Note by their foot the wheel of melody 

That catches and rolls on the Sabbath dunce." 

In the scene that follows between Julian and Roderigo, where the 
king has reached him protected as a herald, and offers to divide with 
Him the throne, there are some noble passages. Roderigo is permitted 
to witness what the duty of revenge has cost the avenger. Julian 
exclaims in his anguish : — 

B And Spain ! parent, I have lost thee, tool 
Tes, thou wilt curse me in thy latter days, 


Me. thine avenger. I have fought her foe, 
Roderigo, I have gloried in her sons, 
Sublime in hardihood and piety: 
Her strength was mine: I, sailing by her clifis, 
By promontory after promontory, 
Opening like flags along some castle-tower, 
Have sworn before the cross upon our mast 
Ne'or shall invader wave his standard there." 


Not the less is he adamant against every proposal for pardon of tl 
outrage of his daughter, or for the baser compromise, which Roderij 
urges on him, of condoning it by marriage. 

u Julian. She call upon her God, and outrage him 
At his own altar! the repeat the vows 
She violates in repeating! who abhors 
Thee and thy crimen, and wants no crown of thine. 
Force may compel the abhorrent soul, or want 
Lash and pursue it to the public ways; 
Virtue looks back and weeps, and may return 
To these, — but never near the abandoned one 
Who drags religion to adultery's feet, 
And rears the altar higher for her sake. 

Roderigo. Have then the Saracens poesest thee quite? 
And wilt thou never yield me thy consent? 

Julian. Never. 

Roderigo. So deep in guilt, in treachery! 

Forced to acknowledge it! forced to avow 
The traitor I 

Julian. Not to thee, who reignest not, 
But to a country ever dear to me, 
And dearer now than ever ! What we love 
Is the loveliest in departure ! One I thought, 
As every father thinks, the best of all, 
Graceful and mild and sensible and chaste: 
Now all these qualities of form and soul 
Fade from before me, nor on any one 
Can I repose, or be consoled by any. 
And yet in this torn heart I love her more 
Than I could love her when I dwelt on each. 
Or olaspt them all united, and thankt God, 
Without a wish beyond. Away, thou fiend! 

ignominy, last and worst of all ! 

1 weep before thee . . . like a child ... like mine . . . 
And tell my woes, fount of them all! to thee." 

In the second act Julian and his daughter are together, and the 
tenderness of his pity for her becomes more profoundly affecting from 
his inability to cheer her with other hope than that the misery 
brought upon Spain may last for ages. 

" Crimes are loose 
At which ensanguined War stands shuddering, 
And calls for vengeance from the powers above, 
Impatient of inflicting it himself. 
Nature in these new horrors is aghast 
At her own progeny, and knows them not. 
I am the minister of wrath; the hands 
That tremble at me shall applaud me too, 
And seal their condemnation.*' 

Then suddenly enters Sisabert, who had been betrothed to her, wbo 
believes the change he sees to be her own um^ithfulness leagued with 


her father's ambition, and to whose reproaches neither can make the 
only reply which would show them to be unjust. 

" We, who have met so altered, meet no more. 
Mountains and seas ! ye are not separation: 
Death ! thou divldest, bnt unitest too 
In everlasting peace and faith sincere." 

When he has left the scene, this passes between the father and 

child : — 

« OmOa. He thinks me faithless. 
Julian. He nrast think thee so. 

Gorilla. tell him, tell him all, when 1 am dead." 

No, not death, cries her loving father ; without crime she has suf- 
fered its penalties, and even on the earth there shall yet at the least 
be peace for her. The local coloring of Spain is again strongly here. 

" Julian, Wide are the regions of our far-famed land : 
Thou shalt arrive at her remotest bounds. 
See her best people, choose some holiest house; 
Whether where Castro from surrounding vines 
Hears the hoarse ocean roar among his eaves. 
And, through the fissure in the green churchyard, 
The wind wail loud the calmest summer day; 
Or where Santona leans against the hill, 
Hidden from sea and land by groves and bowers. 

Qmlla. for one moment In those pleasant scenes 
Thou placest me, and lighter air 1 breathe ! 
Why could I not have rested, and heard on! 
My voice dissolves the vision quite away, 
Outcast from virtue, and from nature toot 

Julian. Nature and virtue ! they shall perish first. 
God destined them for thee, and thee for them, 
Inseparably and eternally ! 
The wisest and the best will prize thee most, 
And solitudes and cities will contend 
Which shall receive thee kindliest." 

On the eve of the decisive battle Opas makes intercession with the 
king, as fruitless as had been his appeal to Julian ; pleads in vain for 
Egilona ; and, replying to Roderigo's taunt that he wants no pity, 
wants nothing that enemy or friend can give, declares in these noble 
lines how lower than even Julian's is the fate that awaits the man 
who has wronged him. 

M Proclaim we those the happiest of mankind 
Who never knew a want 7 what a curse 
To thee this utter ignorance of thine! 
Julian, whom all the good commiserate, 
Sees thee below him far in happiness. 
A state indeed of no quick restlessness, 
No glancing agitation, one vast swell 
Of melancholy, deep, impassable, 
Interminable, where his spirit alone 
Broods and overshadows all, bears him from earth, 
And purifies his chastened soul for heaven. 
Both neaven and earth shall from thy grasp recede! " 

In the same mouth is placed one of the most enchanting descrip- 
tions in the tragedy, where Roderigo's wife, Egilona, is exhibited as 
she was while yet her husband was true to her, and as she is, now 



that hig indifference and falsehood have transformed her, % nd she is 
ready to become wife to the infidel 

11 SitaberL She may forgive him yet 

Q** Ah. Sisabert 

Wretched are those a woman has forgiven : 
With her forgiveness ne'er hath love returned. 
Ye know not till too late the filmy tie 
That holds heaven's precious boon eternally 
To such as fondly cherish her; once go 
Driven by mad passion, strike bat atner peace. 
And, though she step aside from broad reproach. 
Yet every softer virtue dies away. 
Beaming with virtue inaccessible 
Stood Egilona; for her lord she lived, 
And for the heavens that raised her sphere so high: 
All thoughts were on her, all, beside her own. 
Negligent as the blossoms of the field, 
Arrayed in candor and simplicity, 
Before her path she heard the streams of joy 
Murmur her name In all their cadences, 
Saw them in every scene. In light, in shade, 
Beflect her image, but acknowledge them 
Hers most complete when flowing from her most. 
All things in want of her. herself of none, 
Pomp and dominion lay beneath her feet 
Unfelt and unregarded. Now behold 
The earthly passions war against the heavenly! 
Pride against love, ambition and revenge 
Against devotion and compliancy: 
Her glorious beams adversity hath blunted; 
And coming nearer to our quiet view, 
The original clay of coarse mortality 
Hardens and flaws around her. . . . 
His was the fault; be his the punishment. 
'T is not their own crimes only men commit, 
They harrow them into another's breast, 
And they shall reap the bitter growth with pain.' 9 

' With the fourth act the stress of the tragedy arrives; for only 
with the completeness of Julian's victory comes the whole unutterable 
anguish of his misery. When the ruined and fallen king stands wail- 
ing before him for mercy, he employs an image to express his own 
present weakness and his former strength, which, for the vividness of 
its appalling contrast, is probably among the finest in the range of 
English poetry : — 

M I stand abased before insulting crime, 
I falter like a criminal myself; 
The hand that hurled thy chariot o'er its wheels, 
That held thy steeds erect and motionless 
As molten statues on some palace-gate, 
Shakes as with palsied age Wore thee now." 

The last lines are the only others I may quote from this great 
scene: — 

" JuHatt. I swerve not from my purpose : thou art mine 
Conquered; and 1 have sworn to dedicate, 
Like a torn banner on my chapel's roo£ 
Thee to that power from whom thou hast rebelled. 
Expiate thy crimes by prayer, by penances. 

Modtrigo. One name I dare not . . • 


jyjoN. Go; Abstain from that; 

I do conjure thee, raise not in my ton) 
Again the tempest that has wreckt my fame; 
Thou shalt not breathe in the same clime with her. 
Far o'er the unebbing sea thou shalt adore 
The eastern star, ana may thy end be peace ! " 

ATI that the tragedy has now to do is to show to its extremist 
rerge what the conqueror and avenger is still to suffer ; and with 
exquisite art the poet interposes before this a picture of what he had 
been before he lifted arms against the country that idolized and 
gloried in him. His foster-brother Hernando, who has cleaved to him 
through all, who in all that he has done is the solitary heart (except 
his daughter's) which has loved and comprehended him, strives to win 
him into gentler and reassuring thoughts by memories of the past 

u Often we hardly think ourselves the happy 
Unless we hear it said by those around. 
O my lord Julian, how your praises cheered 
Our poor endeavors ! sure, all hearts are open, 
Lofty and low, wise and unwise, to praise : 
Even the departed spirit hovers round 
Our blessings and our prayers; the corse itself 
Hath shined with other light than the still stars 
Shed on its rest, or the dim taper nigh. 
My father, old men say who saw him dead, 
And heard wtmr lips pronounce him good and happy, 
Smiled faintly through the quiet gloom that eve, 
And the shroud throbbed upon his grateful breast. 
Howe'er it be, many who tell the tale 
Are good and happy from that voice of praise. 1 ' 

Again he takes up the theme : — • 

"Early in youth, among us villagers 
Converse and rinened counsel you bestowed. 
O happy days of (far-departed*!) peace. 
Days when the mighty Julian ttoopt his blow 
Entering our cottage-door; another air 
Breathed through the house; tired age and lightsome youth 
Beheld him with intensest gaze; these felt 
More chastened joy; they more profound repose. 
Yes, my best lord, when labor sent them home 
And midday suns, when from the social meal 
The wicker window held the summer heat, 
Praised have those been who, going unperceived, 
Opened it wide that all might see yon well: 
Nor were the children blamed, hurrying to watch 
Upon the mat what rush would last arise 
From your foot*s pressure, ere the door was closed. 
And not yet wondering how they dared to love." 

But all such kindly efforts are vain ; and at the opening of the 
fifth act, from the same friendly lips, we have a picture of him to 
which Mr. De Quincey's language will do greater justice than any 
words of mine. " Mr. Lander, who always rises with his subject, 
tod dilates like Satan into Teneriffe or Atlas when he sees before him 
an antagonist worthy of his powers, is probably the one man in 
Europe that has adequately conceived the situation, the stern self- 
dependency and the monumental misery of Count Julian. That 


sublimity of penitential grief, which cannot accept consolation from 
man, cannot hear external reproach, cannot condescend to notice 
insult, cannot so much as see the curiosity of by-standers ; that awful 
carelessness of all but the troubled deeps within his own heart, and 
of God's spirit brooding upon their surface and searching their 
abysses ; never was so majestically described." 

The generous Moor, Tarik, having said that at last Count Julian 
must be happy, for " delicious calm follows the fierce enjoyment of 
revenge," here' is what succeeds : — 

" Hernando. That calm was never his : no other wQl be. 
Not victory that o'ershadows him sees he; 
No airy and light passion stirs abroad 
To raffle or to soothe him; alT are quelled 
Beneath a mightier, sterner stress of mind: 
Wakeful he sits, and lonely, and unmoved, 
Beyond the arrows, views, or shouts of men} 
As oftentimes an eagle, ere the sun 
Throws o'er the varying earth his early ray, 
Stands solitary, stands Immovable 
Upon some highest cliff, and rolls his eye, 
Clear, constant, unobservant, unabased, 
In the cold light above the dews of morn. .... 
He cannot live much longer. Thanks to God ! " 

Tarik, What ! wishest thou thy once kind matter dead ? 
Was he not kind to thee, ungrateful slave I 

Hernando. The gentlest, as the bravest, of mankind. 
Therefore shall memory dwell more tranquilly 
With Julian once at rest, than friendship could, 
Knowing him yearn for death with speechless love. 
For his own sake I could endure his loss, 
tPray for it, and thank God; yet mourn I must 
Him above all, so great, so bountiful, 
So blessed once ! bitterly must I mourn. 
'T is not my solace that 't is his desire; 
Of all who pass us in life's drear descent 
We grieve the most for those that wisht to die." 

Solemnly beautiful is this close to the magnificent image with 
which the speaker opens. For all the irreparable ruin there is only 
death, and even Hernando wishes it for him ; not with any comfort 
in the thought that he wishes it also himself, but because only from 
the grave can ever come restoration or peace. While yet the hero, 
however, is in presence of the spectator, this is not to be. In the 
ordinary sense Death is necessary to constitute a tragedy ; but the 
intensity of tragic suffering here is in continuing to live. 

If I add yet a few more lines from this remarkable poem, the apol- 
ogy which Mr. De Quincey made for giving but one passage will per- 
haps equally serve as mine for offering so many. " How much, then, 
is in this brief drama of Count Julian, chiselled, as one might think, 
by the hands of that sculptor who fancied the great idea of chisel- 
ling Mount Athos into a demigod, which almost insists on being 
quoted ; which seems to rebuke and frown on one for not quoting it ; 
passages to which, for their solemn grandeur, one raises one's hat as 
at night in walking under the Coliseum ; passages which, for their 

-*T- 30-39.] THE TRAGEDY 09 00UNT JULIAN. 171 

luxury of loveliness, should be inscribed on the phylacteries of brides 
or the fresooe of Ionia."* 


M AH men with human feelings love their country. 
Not the high-born or wealthy man alone, 
Who looks upon his children, each one led 
By its gay handmaid from the high alcove, 
And hears them once a day; not only he 
Who hath forgotten, when his guest Inquires 
The name of some far village all his own; 
Whose rivers bound the province, and whose hills 
Touch the last cloud upon the level sky: 
No; better men still better love their country. 
*T is the old mansion of their earliest friends, 
The chapel of their first and best devotions." 


"Muza. Where is the king? 

Mum, The people must decide. 

Mmzo, Imperfectly, I hope, I understand 
Those words, unworthy of thy birth and age. 

JuUan. chieftain, such have been our Gothio laws. 

Muza. Who then amid such turbulence is safe? 

Julia*. He who observes them: *t is no turbulence, 
It violates no peace: *t is surely worth 
• A voice, a breath of air, thus to create 
By their high will the roan, formed after them 
In their own image, vested with their power, 
To whom they trust their freedom ana their lives. 

Muza. They trust! the people/ God assigns the charge! 
Kings open but the book of destiny 
And read their names; all that remains for them 
The mystic hand from time to time reveals. 
Worst of idolaters! idolater 
Of that refractory and craving beast 
Whose den is in the city! at thy hand 
I claim our common enemy, the king. 1 * 


M destiny ! that callest me alone, 
Hapless, to keep the toilsome watch of .state, 

• See the ninth volume of De Quineey's works (Leaden in Literature), pp. 826-882. 
The closing; passage affords evidence still more impressive of the effect produced by 
mis tragedy on a mind of no ordinary character. " After all has been done which 
intellectual power could do since iEschylus, and since Milton in his Satan, no embodi- 
ment of the Promethean situation, none of the Promethean character, fixes the atten- 
tive eye upon itself with the same secret feeling of fidelity to the vast archetype, as 
Mr. Lander's Qnmt Mum. There is in this modern aSrohth the same jewelly lustre, 
which cannot be mistaken; the same non imiiabUe fulgor ; and the same character of 
* fracture ' or ( cleavage,' as mineralogists speak, for its beaming iridescent grandeur, 
redoubling under the crush of misery. The color and the coruscation are the same 
when splintered by violence; the tones of the rocky harp are the same when swept by 
sorrow. There is the same spirit of heavenly persecution against his enemy, persecu- 
tion that would have hung upon his rear, ana burned after him to the bottomless pit, 
though it had yawned for both; there is the same gulf fixed between the possibilities 
of their reconciliation; the same immortality of resistance, the same eternity of 
abysmal sorrow. Did Mr. Landor consciously cherish this JEschylean ideal in compos- 
ing Qmnl JmUamt 1 know not: there it is." 

172 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONT. C 22^«i 11 * 

Painful to age, unnatural to youth, 
Adverse to all society of friends, 
Equality, and liberty, and ease. 
The welcome cheer of the unbidden feast, 
The gay reply, light, sudden, like the leap 
Of the young forester's unbended bow, 
But above all, to tenderness at home, 
And sweet security of kind concern. 
Even from those who seem most truly ours." 


" He was brave, and in discourse 
Most voluble; the masses of his mind 
Were vast, but varied; now absorbed in gloom, 
Majestic, not austere; now their extent 
Opening and waving in bright levity . . ." 


" Although a Muza sent far underground, 
Into the quarry whence the palace rose, 
His mangled prey, climes alien and remote 
Mark and record the pang. While overhead 
Perhaps he passes on his favorite steed, 
Less heedful of the misery he inflicts 
Than of the expiring sparkle from a stone, 
Yet we, alive or dead, nave fellow-men 
If ever we have served them, who collect 
From prisons and from dungeons our remains, 
And bear them in their bosom to their sons. 
Man's only relics are his benefits; 
These, be there ages, be there worlds, between, 
Retain him in communion with his kind: 
Hence is our solace, our security, 
Our sustenance, till heavenly truth descends, 
Covering with brightness and beatitude 
The frail foundations of these humbler hopes, 
And, like an angel guiding us, at once 
Leaves the loose chain and iron gate behind." 



" Is any just or glorious act In view, 
Your oaths forbid it: is your avarice, 
Or, if there be such, any viler passion 
To have Its giddy range and to be gorged, 
It rises over all your sacraments, 
A hooded mystery, holier than they all*" 

M Guilt hath pavilions, but no privacy." 


" Peace is throughout the land: the various tribes 
Of that vast region sink at once to rest. 
Like one wide wood when every wind lies huaht" 


M There is, I hear, a poor half-ruined cell 
In Xeres, whither tew indeed resort. 
Green are the walls within, green is the floor 

*r. 30-39-] ™ TELAGSDT 0P C0UNT «nJLiiLN. 173 

And slippery from disuse; for Christian feet 

Avoid it, as half holy, half accurst. 

Still in its dark recess fanatic Sin 

Abases to the ground his tangled hair, 

And serrile scourges and reluctant groans 

Boll o'er the vault uninterruptedly, 

Till (such the natural stillness of the place) 

The very tear upon the damps below 

Drops audible, and the heart's throb replies. 

There is the idol maid of Christian creed, 

And taller images whose history 

I know not nor inquired. A scene of blood, 

Of resignation amid mortal panes. 

And other things exceeding all belief. 

Hither the aged Opas of Seville 

Walkt slowly, and behind him was a man 

Barefooted, bruised, dejected, comfortless, 

In sackcloth; the white ashes on his head 

Dropt as he smote his breast; he gathered up, 

Replaced them all, groaned deeply, lookt to heaven, 

And held them like a treasure with claspt hands." 

julian'b described by the same. 

u Behold him, once so potent still so brave, 
So calm, so self-dependent in distress; 
I marvel at him : hardlv dare I blame 
When I behold him falfen from so high, 
And so exalted after such a fall. 
Mighty must that man be. who can forgive 
A man so mighty; seize the hour to rise, 
Another never comes: O say, my father! 
Say. ' Julian, be my enemy no more.' 
He nils me with a greater awe than e'er 
The field of battle, with himself the first, 
When every flag that waved along our host 
Droopt down the staff, as if the very winds 
Hung in suspense before him. Bid him go 
And peace be with him, or let me depart, 
to ! like a God, sole and inscrutable, 
He stands above our pity." 

Besoming Landor*s correspondence with Southey, it will now be 
seen in what circumstances this poem was composed, what varieties 
of alteration it underwent, and what throes of labor and enjoyment, 
doubt and encouragement, hope and despair, attended the successive 
stages of its production. 

The first allusion to it is in a letter of July, 1810, when Landor 
had heard from Southey that he was beginning a poem on Roderick. 

"Among a dozen unfinished things, I have somewhere about the third 
of a tragedy, the subject of which is Count Julian. I represent him as the 
most excellent and the most patient of all earthly beings, till the violation 
of his daughter. When he hears the narrative of this, or rather narratives, 
for there are three, the inwards of his heart develop themselves. I have 
chosen that three different persons should describe to him the events that 
had taken place, both for the sake of variety and extent : a father and son, 
bis friend and Florinda's lover, and a natural daughter of Roderigo, known 
*t present only as the early confidante and companion of Florinda, and 
. beloved by Count Julian. I left off this and began another on Ferrante 
Bud Giulio, natural sons of the Duke of Ferrara, half-brothers of Cardinal 

174 BATH, 8PAIN, AND LLANTHONT. { %E££ 1 ' 

Ippolito di Este. But I left off making cobwebs, for I felt no anxiety to 
catch flies. If I had finished Count Julian, he would have landed in Spain 
within a few hours of the first intelligence of his calamity ; for the Moorish 
army was investing Ceuta both by sea and land, and had only to sail across. 
He would have taken Roderigo prisoner during an engagement in the 
night would have forced him on board a vessel, and have exacted no more 
than nis oath to pass the remainder of his days in penitence at the Holy 
Sepulchre. If I had written down all I composed in my walks, I should 
perhaps have finished half. But I cannot sit to write anything, and what- 
ever I propose to do, I leave undone. This argues a most deplorable imbe- 
cility of mind, such as never can happen but from an uninterrupted series 
of vexations and disappointments." 

The reader sees, of course, how different was this proposed execu- 
tion of the piece from that which he adopted. The theme he had 
chosen shook his friend a little at first ; but soon came the frank and 
generous praise. Southey thought the conception of the Count very 
fine and original : his own, on the contrary, imputing no grandeur of 
mind to him, but a great deal to his daughter. Not until November, 
writing from Bath, does Landor refer again to his tragedy, with char- 
acteristic account of how he had been writing it ; and the rough draft 
then enclosed of what he meant for its very last scene, sketched 
before the first scene of the first act was completed, is here given 
with the letter because of its agreement in feeling, but entire unlike- 
ness in detail, to the scene as subsequently altered and printed* It 
begins when Julian has been told of the murder of his sons. 

" One evening, as I returned from the concert, I wrote down a speech for 
my tragedy of Count Julian. I am happy we take such opposite, or rather 
such distant ground ; for if I came too near you, it would avail me little to 
be intrenched up to the teeth. My magnificent plan is now totally changed. 
I had made some fine speeches, really and truly ; but, alas, I rejected them 
all because they were fine speeches. I am a man who semper ad eventum 
festinat ; and although I have not more than about four hundred verses 
that will remain on the permanent establishment and do duty, yet I have 
finished the last scene. Here it is. I will write it as legibly as I can. 

1 Julian (after a patue). I will not weep — pity and joy and pride 
Soften me and console me. (Patue.) Are they dead? 

Muza. Yes, and nnsepulchred. 

Julian. Nor wept nor seen 

By any kindred and far-following eye ? (Pome.) 

children, ye are happy. Ye have lived 
Of heart nnconauerea, honor unimpaired, 
And died, true Spaniards, loyal to the last. 

Muza. Away with him! 

Julian. Slaves ! not before I lift 

My voice to heaven and man : though enemies 
Surround me, and none else, yet other men 
And other times shall hear: the agony 
Of soul, the wheel that racks the heart, is heard. 
Nature, amidst her solitudes, recoils 
At the dread sound, nor knows what she repeats. 
The cities swell with it The villager 
Honeys with fallen pride his infants' lore. 
The element we breathe will scatter it. 
The ministers of heaven, presiding o'er them, 

*T. 30-39.] THE TRAGEDY 09 COUNT JULIAN. 175 

Breathe It I And none dares dream whence it arose. 
From prisons and from dungeons mortals hear 
Expiring truth, nor curse repentant crime. 

Enter a Meuenger. 

M. Thy wife, Count Julian — 

Julian {afraid). Pause ! — 

Jf. —is dead. 

Julian. Adieu, 

Earth ! and the humblest of all earthly hope, 
To hear of comfort, though to find it vain.  

soother of my hours, while I beheld 
The light of day, and thine ! Adieu, adieu ! 
my Tost child, thou livest yet — in shame ! 

agony past utterance ! past thought ! 

That throwest death, like some light idle thing, 
With all its terrors, into dust and air, — 

1 will endure thee, — for 1 see again 
My natal land, and cover it with woe. 1 

When Count Julian says to the messenger, Pause t he says it in great vehe- 
mence and distraction, as if he apprehended the same outrage as had dis- 
honored his daughter. 

" I have one passage which is better than this, and only one of any great 
extent I will now give you a specimen of the old leaven : — 

* Opae, I never yet have seen where long success 
Hath followed him who warred upon his king. 

Julian. Because the virtue that inflicts the stroke 
Dies with him, and the rank ignoble heads 
Of plundering factions soon unite again, 
Ana, prince-protected, share the spoil in peace.' 

" I sometimes rise into too high a key, but I have an instinctive horror 
of declamation." 

Replying in December,* Southey tells his friend that he is not sure 
he does wisely in rejecting fine speeches from his tragedy, and re- 
marks of the speech of Julian above, given as a specimen of the old 
leaven, that it seems to him perfectly in character, such sort of rea- 
soning being of the essence of passion. The concluding scene he 
thinks very fine, though he loses some of its force from want of know- 
ing precisely the situation. One line, where the villager 

44 Honeys with fallen pride his infanta 1 lore," 

he does not yet understand. But, as in Gebir he used to read over 
difficult passages till the meaning flashed upon him, perhaps by to- 
morrow he shall feel the purport of this. The action of his own 
poem, he adds, does not begin till Landor/s has finished, and he 
encloses and explains its opening sections. Landor meanwhile, at the 
end of the same month, had been sending further news of Julian, 
when, in the midst of his letter, that of Southey with its enclosures 
arrived. He has now altogether discarded the plan first chosen, and 
has concluded his first act on the new plan. 

" I have completed my first act of Count Mian. I believe I have not a 
syllable to alter; but who knows that, so early in the business? Has no- 

* It is perhaps not necessary again to remark that what Is quoted here of Southey*a 
from the correspondence will not be found in his Life or Letters. 

176 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONT. 'rfS-i? 1 * 

body ever chosen Count Julian for the subject of a tragedy ? Not that I 
care, — I find that Alfieri has not I shall reject the greater part of what I 
wrote long ago. I cannot graft anything on such twigs. I am abler than 
I was. I will cut all my figures out of one block, under one conception of 
their characters. My tragedy, after all, will have many defects; but I did 
not imagine I could do so well as I have done. The popularis aura, though 
we are ashamed or unable to analyze it, is requisite for the health and 
growth of genius. . . .* I believe I am the first man who ever wrote 
the better part of a tragedy in a concert-room. Your letter has come this 

He explains the line not intelligible to Southey ; ^throws out a 
remark worth study on the varieties of ancient method in poetical 
language ; and closes with a remark on the opening of his friend's 

" I spared as poetry what I had once rejected as tragedy. ( Honeys with 
fallen pride,' <fec. ; the villager sweetens his children's lesson by giving them 
a story of fallen pride. This is the meaning ; but nothing ought to stand 
in a tragedy of which one is obliged to say, This is the meaning. Added 
to which, all views of country life should be excluded by the turmoil and 
deploiement of the passions. The ancients permitted the sense to sink 
deeper below the surface than we do. Look at Pindar and Sophocles ; or 
take Sophocles alone. His language is generally the sacred language of 
poetry in the more impassioned parts, though in the shorter and more 
familiar dialogue it is nothing more than the conversation of ordinary life. 
You rise in energy and spirit as you proceed ; but I fear that the portico 
will be too large for the temple, if you propose to rear your structure by 
the ancient rules. Is this necessary ? May not a poem be more compre- 
hensive than we have been used to ? " 

Then, on the 21st of January, 1811, less than three weeks from 
the time when the first act had been completed, writing from the 
South Parade in Bath, he exultingly announces that the entire 
tragedy is done, and is unable to suppress the hope he entertains 
that it may even prove worthy to be acted. 

" I have finished Count Julian this evening. It cannot be well done, 
written with such amazing rapidity. In forty Hours I have done a thousand 
lines. Little of the original plan is retained, but about three hundred verses 
are unaltered, or nearly so. When my fingers are fairly well again, I will 
transcribe the whole for you, that the eye may take in all at a time. I 
ought to have it acted, as an indemnity for the sleeve of a new coat which 
it has actually made threadbare. Do not whisper to any one that I have 
written a tragedy. My name is composed of unlucky letters. But if you 
know any poor devil who can be benefited by the gift of one, he may have 
it, — profit, fame, and all ; and what is more, if it is not successful, he may 
say it is mine. At all events, it will have a better chance with him than 
with me. It would be impossible for me, indeed, to have anything to do 
with such people as managers and lord chamberlains, — though, as the latter 
is a person of rather more consequence, I may employ him, a few years hence, 
to empty. . . I used to believe that I was prodigiously less absent, as people 
call it, than other reading and writing men ; and I can hardly bring to my 

* A toaching*passage, already given In note, p. 108, is omitted here. 



memory an instance of the kind, before the one I am going to mention. I sent 
for a volume of Racine (having no books) from the library, for the sole pur- 
pose of counting what number of verses was the average of a tragedy. I 
was writing when it came ; and I turned over his messieurs and mesdames 
with a vacant stare, and sent the volume away in a passion without the least 
idea what had induced me to order an author I disliked so much. Let me, 
however, do justice to Racine. I have a reluctance to begin, but if I begin 
I go on. His great fault is, every tragedy represents the same state of 
society, of whatever country the characters may be, or in whatever age the 
event. In a few of our higher feelings this is really the case; but the 
reasonings and moral sentiments of this poet, and above all the mode of 
expressing them, may be fairly laid down between the Luxembourg and the 
Bois de Boulogne." 

He had indeed done wonders with Count Julian, was Southey's 
answer ten days later. He had never himself had a quicker run (in 
sailors' phrase) than twelve hundred lines in a week. But that was 
nothing to Lander's exploit ; " and your manner involves so much 
thought (excess of meaning being its fault), that the same number of 
lines must cost thrice as much expense of passion and of the reason- 
ing faculty to you as they would to me." To see the tragedy as 
completed he is now all impatience. As to the line of which he had 
asked an explanation, the meaning had flashed upon him, as he 
thought it would, ten minutes after the letter was gone, and he be- 
blockheaded himself according to his deserts.* As to the notion of 
putting it on the stage he says, with a manifest ignorance of the art 
which may in some sort excuse his not less obvious contempt for its 
workmen and professors : " Of managers I have as great an abhor- 
rence as you have ; but if your play be fitted for representation, 
which is supposing it to have certain vices that it is not likely 
to have, and to be without certain merits which are sure to be found 
there, means may be devised of putting it into their hands, in that 
sort of cavalier manner which is likely to have more effect with such 
fellows than any other conduct." The tragedy, in its complete form, 
\ reached Southey with a letter of the date 5 th February, 1811. 

* As an illustration not without value of what the keenest perception may here 
and there find " obscure " in Landor's style, I give,* with his friend's comment and 
explanation, another passage which to Southey had been unintelligible. It is where 
Opas implores Julian that it should never be his 

" To drag the steady prop from failing age, 
Break the young stem that fondness twines around, 
Widen the solitude of lonely sighs, 
And scatter to the broad bleak wastes of day 
The ruins and the phantoms that replied." 

The last two lines being the difficulty, Lander told him thereupon that between them 
he had written 

" Spectres of bliss and avenues of hope " ; 

"the meaning being — and destroy all those scenes of privacy and retirement in 
which the wretched raise up those illusions which reply and are correspondent with 
their distempered imagination." The explanatory line nevertheless has failed to get 
into the printed copies of the play. 




18*5— X4 


" I have labored days and nights, without intermission almost, in correol 
ing my tragedy. I send it you transcribed. Keep the copy, for I neve 
shall have another fair enough to print from, — if I do print My rapid it 
in the composition was* not quite so great as I led you to imagine. M] 
hours were four or five together, after long walks, in which 1 brought fc>e 
fore me the various characters, the very tones or their voices, their form* 
complexions, and step. In the daytime I labored and at night unburden «_*< 
my mind, shedding many tears. People have laughed at Voltaire for weep 
ing at the representation of his own tragedies. For mv own part I believ 
he never was half so sincere on any other occasion. Tnorough-paced rasca 
and true Frenchman as he was, here was neither deceit nor affectation." 

Not disappointed was Southey in the finished Count Julian. Afte: 
I six days he acknowledged it. Too Greek for representation in thos< 
days, it was altogether worthy of its author. The thought and feel 
ing frequently condensed in a single line was unlike anything ii 
modern composition. The conclusion too was Greek. He shoulc 
have known the play to be Landor's if it hod fallen in his way wi thorn 
a name. What that was, poor Rough's had only tried to be. Nevei 
was a character more finely conceived than Julian. The picture of 
his seizing the horses was the grandest image of power that ever poet 
produced, and in the very first rank of sublimity.* Nor could he 
have placed the story in a finer dramatic light. Of course he must 
print the tragedy. It would not have many more admirers than 
Gebir, but they would be of the same class and cast ; and with Gebir 
it would be known hereafter, when all the rubbish of their generation 
should have been swept away. And what, was asked in conclusion, 
would he do next 1 "I cannot reconcile myself to the abandonment 
of the Phocoeans, of which the fragments are so masterly. ,, 

This, at the close of February, 1811, brings grateful reply from 
Landor. First he sends several corrections ; says there was an em- 
barrassed sentence at the end, to which after vast labor he has given 
pliability ; and presents the last brief scene in an unquestionably im- 
proved form, as will be observed by comparison of the version given 
in these letters with that in the printed play. Then he continues i 
incidentally remarking on two subjects, Sertorius and Spartacus, from 
which Southey had been, anxious that he should make choice for a 
poem, unless he should prefer to go on with the Phoccean* : — . 

" I finished this tragedy only because I thought it disgraceful to havJ 
formed so many plans and to have completed none. Indeed, I had snmoj 
doubt whether I could write a tragedy, a thing which I have always con- 
sidered as a desideratum in modern literature. For the Harpies have le~ 
» their filth among even the rich feasts in the theatre of Shakespeare, an 
j Otway is an unclean beast Surely an age that can endure the vile an 
I despicable insipidities of Addison's Cato may listen to Count Julian. 
• wish it were possible for me, without a name, to bring it forward. I ca 
not what is omitted in the representation. The plan and characters are we 
proportioned, which is sure to please people, though they know not why. 

* See ante, p. 168. 


The events of the first act lead naturally to the last, and every scene is in- 
strumental to the catastrophe. Twice 1 struck out and replaced the verses, 

happy days,' &a* Such feelings and reflections occur in Sophocles and 
Euripides, but generally in the choruses. 1 wanted them as a demi-tint, to use 
the expression of another art, to surround and set off Count Julian. It re- 
Le?es us from the agonies of the preceding scene, and renders him an object 
cf the most powerful sympathy as well as of the highest admiration. How 
different from the man who is forced to become the scourge of his country ! 

'• I never could have made the Phocctans a good poem. I began in a 
wrong key for English verse. I had written several hundred lines in Latih, 
but 1 threw them into the lire at the bad reception that English volume met 
with. If I had not, my Latin poem of ' Pnocaeis ' would have been the 
Mieet-anchor of my poetical fame, and the labor of this very hour, probably. 
It would have contained very, very little of what is now in the English. 

44 I admire the character of Sertorius more than any other Roman what- 
soever; but the Romans are the most anti-picturesque and anti-poetical 
[ people in the universe. No good poem ever was or ever will be written 
I it out them. The North opens the most stupendous region to genius. 
What a people were the Icelanders! what divine poets! Even in the 
Kumsy version of William Herbert they strike my imagination and heart 
differently from others. Except Pindar's, no other odes are so high-toned. 

1 have before me, only in the translation of Mallet's Northern Antiquities, 
the ode of Regnor Lodbrog, the corrections of which I remember. What 
a vile jargon is the French ! * Nous nous sommes battu a coups d'e*pees ' ! ! 
There is one passage I delight in. ' Ah, if my sons knew the sufferings of 
their father, &c., &c. — for I gave a mother to my children from whom they 
inherit a valiant heart 1 Few poets could have expressed this natural and 
nohle sentiment; few are aware that it is the highest of all virtues to choose 
?ach a woman as may confer a good form and good dispositions on her 

This striking letter, another proof of the invariable effect of the old 
Northern fictions on poets and men of genius, was followed after a 
few days by sundry fillings up for the last act of Julian, to come im- 
mediately on the announcement made to the hero of the death of his 

sons. N 

u The tragedy is now sixteen hundred lines long, — too much I fear ; but 
when I recollect first one thing and then another which I have omitted, I 
cannot help saying of one or two favorites, * I have thrown a pearl away 
richer than all its tribe.' But I was afraid of the verses above, f I fancied 
the tenderness of them was almost equal to what he felt for his daughter. 
This would have been wrong. I see it plainly, now I can bring the whole 
into one view, and at some considerable distance from the period of writing 
it. His feelings were inadequately and improperly expressed before. I made 
him betray some anger and resentment at the idea that Muza had caused 

• See ante, p. 169. 

t The speech is that beautiful one in which, with pathetic yearning to his favor- 
ite, called after him, he contrasts the characters of his sons: — 

" Ermenegild! thou mightest, sure, have lived! 
A father's name awoke no dread of.thee ! 
Only thy mother's early bloom was thine ! 
There dwelt on Julian's brow . . . thine was serene . • • 
The brightened clouds of elevated souls, 


the death of his wife.* Now, the keeping is good, and I hare only i 
scrutinize the words and retain the verses, which I do. I have added ox 
touch of vanity and selfishness,! of that nardness which is so frequent! 
superinduced on the female character when the bloom of early fondness 
blown off." 

On the 12th of March Southey answered. Too Greek for represei 
tation as he thought the tragedy to be, he seems nevertheless to hai 
gravely entertained his friend's manifestly eager desire to have 
acted. First he remarks upon the changes and interpolations, J an 
in particular says of the speech last sent, upon Julian's sons, that 
is " a grand passage, — a mixture of the pathetic and the lofty aii 
the profound, which is not to be found in any other living writei 
and in very few of those who are immortal"; next he says ths 
" there is nothing in the play so obscure as the last line and a hal 
will be " ; and then he talks of the stage. The chance for it, h 
( shrewdly remarks, would lie in John Kemble's vanity ; and he think 
\ that through Longman, who has some property in Covent Garden 
backed by a note from himself, he can at least insure a reading fron 
the actor-manager who would doubtless bring it out if he thought i 
calculated to display his talents, though as for " understanding th< 
power and might and majesty that the tragedy manifests," this was 
not to be expected from a man who, after Shakespeare, could act ii 
such trash as Cato and the Revenge : the last a play which had sc 
turned his stomach on seeing it nine years ago that he verily belie vec 
he should never set foot in a theatre again. But was it, after all, 
worth trial ? Less from its want of pageantry than because of iti 
excellences, he very much doubted its success ; and for himself he 
did not think he could ever consent to submit to the decision of such 
a crew as the London dramatic critics a production that had cost him 
thought and passion, blushes of cheek and throbs of head and quiet 
tears. However, he was ready to send the play to Kemble, and 

Feared by the most below: those who lookt up 
Saw at tneir season in clear signs advance 
Rapturous valor, calm solicitude, 
All that impatient youth would press from age, 
Or sparing ace sigh and detract rrom youth: 
Hence was his fall! my hope! myself! my Julian! •• 

* See ante, p. 176. 

t This is where Egilona, whose heart had softened to Roderigo on hearing of his last 
humiliation, hardens again at hearing that no word but that of penance had fallen from 
him: — 

" If he had only called upon my name, 
Seeking my pardon ere he lookt to heaven's, 
I could nave — no ! he thought not once on me ! " 

% The reader who compares the last scene as given in Landor*s letter at pp. 174, 17*, 
with the same scene as divided into two in the printed play, will understand what 
these were; and, besides that named in the text, I may subjoin these: — 

" The agony 
Of an opprest and of a bursting heart 
No violence can silence: at its voice 
The trumpet is o'erpowered, and glory mute, 
And peace and war . . •" 


manage all the correspondence with him ; and failing him, he thought 
he might send it with yet a better chance, through Walter Scott, to 
the Edinburgh theatre. 

Landor promptly replied, after two days' interval, first, that 
Soathey's remark on the last lines of the tragedy* was perfectly 
just. He might explain them; but as he could explain them in 
two ways, and was not able to recollect his precise feeling at the 
moment of writing them, it was proper they should be altered. 
He would now say, 

That idea, he thinks, would open a new source of pathos. Then, as 
to the stage, he makes an interesting and noteworthy comment. Not 
until a quarter of a century later, die reader at all conversant with 
such matters will remember, this disgrace of the lobbies was wiped 
out by Mr. Macready, the last of the really great actors of our gen- 

"Kemble may be tried. It really does appear to me, on recollection, 
that Count Julian is a character suited to him ; but 1 have seen very little 
of Kemble. You would hardly imagine it, I have not seen a play acted a 
dozen times in my life. 1 am not remarkably pure or chaste ; but to hear 
generous and pathetic sentiments and to behold: glorious and grand actions 
amidst the vulgar, hard-hearted language oft prostitutes and lobby-loungers, 
not only takes away all my pleasure by the evident contrast, but seizes me 
with the most painful and insuperable disgust. Added to whichj 1 cannot 
restrain my tears, sometimes at even an indifferent piece. It is curious that 
we should be more anxious to conceal our best passions than our worst. 
Oar pity and love are profaned by the most casual glance ; but one would 
imagine our hatred and vengeance were pro bono publico. I think now of 
the public taste precisely as I did when I wrote the first preface to Gebir. 
That preface would not serve for a second edition. It was the language of 
a man who had not tried the public, and who threw down the full measure 
of his expectations. If Count Julian is endured, it will be because it is 
different trom anything of the day, and not from any excellence. If Kemble 
will not act it, I would not submit it to inferior actors." 

Thereupon, writing early in May, 1811, Southey told Landor he 
was going up to London, and would carry with him the tragedy for 
Kemble. He ought to jump at it if he knew what was really excel- 
lent in dramatic composition ; but Southey did not expect that from 
him, and Landor might rely at least on the man's being made to 
understand that no favor was solicited, the obligation being quite as 
much on the Kemble part as on theirs. But at this point Landor 
seems suddenly to have gathered from Southey's tone, what he ought 
clearly to have discovered much earlier, how vain was any hope from 
that quarter ; and the eagerness so suddenly expressed for the stage 
was now just as hastily withdrawn. " Count Julian shall never lie 
at the feet of Kemble. It must not be offered for representation. I 

* These remained still as in the first draft, ante, p. 176. 


will print it, and immediately. Give me jour advice how this is 1 
be done." 

Southey's advice was ready, though hardly what Landor meant I 
his question. " Print the tragedy in a volume," he wrote early i 
Jurie, " with boarded covers, not as a pamphlet to be dog-leaved 
Scott also, he told him, was writing on Roderigo ; and if the o\ 
Goth ever got any literary news in the other world, it would surprii 
him to hear what work he had made for the poets of the nineteent 
century ! * 

While yet, however, that letter was on its way, Landor had writte 
three or four more to his friend, each with its changes, interpolation] 
additions, or suggestions. Whether to admit the fresh lines that ris 
to his mind he is frequently doubtful ; and the doubt mostly ends i 
exclusion. But some there are that haunt him, so that he canno 
decide ; and two or three, apparently unimportant, it had cost him , 
day each on an average to alter. The second scene of the third ac 
he had found it necessary to enlarge ; and instead of officers withou 
names he had introduced Osma and Ramiro. By augmenting tin 
same scene he had given time for the return of Sisabert and Opas, a 
well as reason and opportunity for the departure of Ramiro and Osma 
to whose characters he had moreover given size enough for some dis 
criminating touches. "I have made," he adds, "many improve 
ments " ; and he instances fome new lines descriptive of Egilona-t 
Southey would observe also that he had slightly altered the last line 
Does he now like it better ? 

" No, not yet, not quite," Southey at once replied. Those con- 
cluding lines were not yet what they should be ; nor would Landor 
have asked for a further judgment if they had been. " All bad poets 
admire all that they write. A true one never suspects a passage of his 
own to be imperfect without cause. His suspicions are of the nature 
of conscience. H But the passage he had sent descriptive of Egilona 
was indeed perfectly Landorean ! " It has a character of sublimity 
wholly your own, and of that kind which has set the seal of immor- 
tality on Gebir" Not welcomer to the thirsty grass the summer 
dews and rains, than to Southey's friend his ever noble, unstinting, 
unmisgiving praise ; and with fresh heart he labors on, adding, 
transcribing, strengthening everywhere. 

" I have had enough trouble in the transcribing ; I will have no more. 
The conclusion never pleased me, and I shall pass a few hours agreeably 
enough in bringing it nearer to my mind." 

He had sealed his letter, but opens it again to send the fresh clos- 
ing lines, which he thinks have something of a moral, — a thing most 
critics want. 

\ • Writing to Scott in 1812, to thank him for his Vmcm of Dm Roderick, Southey teD« 

\ him: " I hare a tragedy of Landor** in my desk, of which Count Julian is the hero; it 

\ contains some of the finest touches, both of passion and poetry, that I have ever seen." 

t See ante, p. 168. The introduced lines are those beginning, " Negligent as the 

blossoms of the field," to the close. 


M I will endure thee, — I, whom heaven ordained 
Thus to have served beneath my enemies, 
Their conqueror, thus to have revisited 
My native land with vengeance and with woe." 

Still this does not satisfy him ; and the letter containing it had 
hardly been despatched when another took to Southey the additional 
lines as they now stand. 

u I have added some lines for the conclusion, more dramatic according to 
modern notions, containing one stroke more of Julian's character. He 
orders the guards of Muza to follow him. It was requisite that even Muza, 
at the last, should acknowledge his superiority. 

* Henceforward shall she recognize her sons 
Impatient of oppression or disgrace, 

And rescue them or perish. Let her hold 

This compact, written with her blood and mine. 

Now follow me . . . but [turning round, as he goes out, to Mtua] tremble ! 

Years shall roll 
And wan rage on, and Spain at last be free. 1 

" I wrote also for my last scene, immediately on reading your letter, after 
some repressions, these lines : — 

* Justice, who came not up to us through life, 
Loves to survey our likeness on our tombs, 
When rivalry, malevolence, and wrath, 
And every passion that once stormed around, 
Is calm alike without them and within.' " 

That letter was written in the middle of June ; when already, after 
a fashion his friend had not dreamt of, he had been acting on 
Southey's suggestion about the printing of the play. The result was 
described in a letter from Llanthony on the 25th June, 1811 ; and a 
more characteristic one does not appear in the series. 

" I sent Count Julian to your bookseller, Mr. Longman, and gave him to 
understand, though not in so many words, as people say, that you thought 
not unfavorably of it 1 would have been glad to have given it up to him 
for half a dozen copies ; not that 1 have half a dozen friends who know any- 
thing of poetry, or indeed so many of any kind ; but I wanted half a dozen 
to give to people who have been civil to me. This would not do. I then 
proposed to print it at my own expense. This also failed. They would 
nave nothing to do with it We have lately had cold weather here, and 
fires. On receiving the last letter of Mr. Longman to this purport, I com- 
mitted to the flames my tragedy of Ferranti and Giulio, with which I in- 
tended to surprise you, and am resolved that never verse of mine hereafter 
shall be committed to anything else. My literary career has been a very 
curious one. You cannot imagine how I feel relieved at laying down its 
burden and abandoning this tissue of humiliations. I fancied I had at last 
acquired the right tone of tragedy, and was treading down at heel the shoes 

At all this Southey is overwhelmed with grief. Why such a man 
as his friend, certain as he must be of the sterling value of his poems, 
should care either for good or evil report of them, was utterly unac- 
countable to Southey. He looked upon Gebir as he did upon Dante's 
long poem in the Italian, " not as a good poem, but as containing the 


finest poetry in the language " ; so it was with Julian ; and so no 
doubt it was with the play he had so provokingly destroyed. Could 
he only have known that Landor thought of offering Count Julian, to 
Longman, a word from himself would have prevented all that irrepa- 
rable mischief ! 

" The people at that house know nothing about books except in the mere 
detail of trade ; and the only thing which they would think of was, that 
single plays did not sell unless they were represented. And because these 
Paternoster Row men have acted in the spirit of their vocation, you have 
burnt a play which doubtless contained as much pure ore as Julian, and 
which would have lived as long as the language. Zounds ! I could swear 
almost as vehemently at you as at them ! " 

This was written from London ; in the interval before returning to 
Keswick, Southey and his wife visited Landor at Llanthony; and 
September was the date of Landor's next letter. He talks of the 
favorable weather, and what it is doing for the land. " After all this, 
if 1 talk of my tragedy, 1 shall remind you of the lottery-men in the 
newspapers. The weather has most certainly made several verses 
grow up in several places, and occasioned me to prune some of the 
rankest parts." He speaks of portions recovered from his holocaust 
of Ferranti and Giulio ; and closes by saying that if Soutney could 
tell him of any bookseller who would print Count Julian without 
giving him any more trouble than might arise from correcting the 
sheets, he should be very much obliged. 

When that letter arrived at Keswick, Southey tells him on the 
10th of October, both the Latin and English Gebirs were on his table. 
He had been putting them into the hands of Doctor Gooch, then on a 
visit to him ; which was sufficiently expressing his opinion of Gooch, 
as it was a m^Tim with him never, except in the unavoidable way of 
publication, to throw pearls before swine, ^he doctor had left that 
afternoon, and the last word spoken by him at parting was an en- 
treaty to himself to entreat Landor to write another poem. He 
winds up by saying that he had written by the same post to Murray, 
the publisher of the Quarterly, in order that no time might be lost 
about the tragedy. The result was declared in a note dated nine 
days later. 

" Send Count Julian as soon as you please to Mr. Murray, Fleet Street, 
and he will be your publisher. I told him that 1 should recommend it to 
you to print only two hundred and fifty copies, because the play would be 
highly admired by the few, but probably not popular ; being too good for 
the many. In the latter part of this opinion I may be mistaken ; so much 
the better : in the first I cannot." 

Landor acted on this suggestion at once ; and in his next letter, at 
the opening of 1812, he is in the midst of proofs and printing. He 
forgets whether he had mentioned to Southey that after some delib- 
eration he rejected the name of Florinda as that of Julian's outraged 

- ' v OP COUNT JULIAN. 183 

y * KiMora. I am certain that in 

1 n perversion of a Roman 

• i-ity so named was 

•on given after 

I'ount Julian, 

rivation. I 


o thing in 

• ir-imber of 

'<> print that 

.ilivd or two, 

■MMMit only the 

< >t" course it will 

us. If you have 

<i it somewhat I 

s will be very angry 

sed that Upham has 

.i«»t sorry. I feel a sort 

\ though there is little 

.o, or stumble on any one 

oived the printed Count 

curious critical passages by 

cer. It was a work, as he 

ch it could be compared had 

would be, except it were by the 

t >oet whom it seemed to Southey 

language and structure, Shake- 

mpted by men immeasurably infe- 

i as infallibly to remind of the proto- 

niore in Count Julian, the manner was 

i uitter than the color from the rainbow. 

• of subsisting without the spirit. And 

: retted anything so much as the play which 

— except the lost books of the Faery Queen ; 

•ver grieved to the same extent, because the 

to be a vexation as well as a loss. 

* passages as printed he found to be new. He 

c of the Spaniards at the opening, and of various 

i: irked local coloring in them,* as evincing of what 

•s for a poet to have witnessed his own scenery. He 

• description of Julian by Hernando, and the image of 

to his feeling in the very highest degree of sublimity; 

ug Bcenes, he also thought, were greatly improved. 

.,"11 would be the reception of this drama? With the 

- lor its audience, Southey could have told the author. But 

vit they were, and living in an age when public criticism 

•rks of fine literature was " at the very point of pessimism," 

* The reader will And these, <mfe, pp. 187, 166, 166, 167, &c 


he could only guess that it would pass silently ; that a few persons 
would admire it with all their hearts, and all their soul, and all their 
strength ; but that envy and her companions in the Litany would not 
hear enough to induce them to blow their trumpets, and even abuse 
it into notoriety. 

And thus, by a hand skilful as generous, was the horoscope of 
Count Julian cast, and its fate exactly prefigured I 


Between Landor's return from Spain and his completion of Count 
Julian three years had passed, and personal incidents now railing for 
mention had occurred in the interval 

The Staffordshire estate, which had been so long in his family, and 
which alone became absolutely his by his father's death (the Warwick- 
shire estates of Ipsley Court and Tachbrooke not descending to him 
until the death of his mother), fell ' short in value of a thousand a 
year, and went but an inconsiderable way to the purchase of an es- 
tate with an estimated annual rental of more than three thousand. 
But after the failure of Loweswater and its lake he had set his heart 
on Llanthony and its abbey, and everything had to give way to his 
overpowering desire to possess it. In the end his mother consented 
to sell Tachbrooke, the smaller of her two estates, to enable him to 
buy Llanthony, on condition of a life settlement upon her from the 
latter of four hundred and fifty pounds a year. What she thus gave 
her eldest son was the difference between that amount and the sum 
of twenty thousand pounds, for which Tachbrooke sold ; but she im- 
posed only the further condition that the advowson of Golton should 
be surrendered to his brother Charles, to whom he had already pre- 
sented that family living. An act of Parliament and the consent of 
all the brothers were required to give effect to these arrangements ; 
the settlement being the same as that of his mother's estates, upon 
Landor for life with remainder to his issue and that of his brothers 
successively in tail male. The act was also to enable additional sums 
to be raised upon the new purchase for improvements and to pay off 
mortgages, and it gave to the tenants in possession power to charge 
the estate with marriage jointures of not more than five hundred a 

The letter of January, 1809, in whioh he told Southey that he had 
a private bill coming on before Parliament, replied likewise to an in- 
vitation from his friend to go to the Lakes, giving him the additional 
startling information that since affairs had been going on so badly in 
Spain he had again offered his services, and that if he went, there was 
little chance he should ever again see Derwentwater, or, what was 
next in beauty and he hoped to have called his own, Loweswater. 
But that he was not going, all the rest of the letter showed pretty 
clearly. " I wish I had settled in your country. I could live with- 


out Bath. As to London, its bricks and tiles and trades and fogs 
make it odious and intolerable. I am about to do, whether I live or 
die, what no man hath ever done in England, to plant a wood of 
cedar of Lebanon. These trees will look magnificent on the moun- 
tains of Llanthony unmixt with others ; and perhaps there is not a 
spot on the earth where eight or ten thousand are to be seen to- 
gether." He proposed to be in London shortly, and should lose all 
abhorrence of travelling if he could bu£ hope that they should meet. 

No sooner did Southey get this news of the Parliamentary bill 
than he was all eagerness to introduce his friend to his older friend 
Rickman, clerk to Parliament, praised by everybody, and whom 
Charles Lamb thought to be the most perfect man, up to anything, 
down to everything, fullest of matter with the least verbosity, that 
he had ever known. He would manage all the House of Commons 
part of the bill. To him Southey wrote accordingly, with no mis- 
giving that he should raise too high his expectation of the friend he 
had to introduce. In seeing him, he said, Rickman would see one 
of the most extraordinary men that it had ever been his fortune to 
fell in with, and who would be one of the greatest if it were possible 
to tame him. " He does more than any of the gods of all my mythol- 
ogies, for his very words are thunder and lightning, such is the 
power and the splendor with which they burst out. But all is per- 
fectly natural ; there is no trick about him, no preaching, no parade, 
no playing off. 1 ' Of Rickman at the same time he wrote to Landor, 
that he was a man to whom he owed hardly less than to himself in 
the way of mental obligation ; for it was not more true that he had 
learnt how to see for the purposes of poetry from Landor than that 
he had learnt how to read for the purposes of history from Rickman. 

I doubt however if these two worthies ever saw each other. 
Everything preliminary to the bill had to be done exclusively in 
the upper house, and Landor failed to find Rickman, though he 
attempted it twice. " My brother, who manages my affairs, saw 
him, but I did not ; nor could I have enjoyed his conversation if I 
had, for London, as usual, gave me a fever and cough." Southey 
had explained his own inability to be in London at the time by a 
promise made to visit Walter Scott in Edinburgh ; and Landor tells 
him in this letter to be sure and see Professor Young. " He is an 
admirable scholar ; but his version of Tyrteeus is as bad as it ought 
to be. I met him at Harrowgate, and he showed me great civility." 
Unhappily the loss of one of his children prevented Southey's Edin- 
burgh visit, and was thus referred to in Landor*s next letter : — 

" I fancied you were in Scotland^ and my mind was often occupied on the 
accessions you had been procuring to your fame and happiness. If I 
moralize or reflect on these events, it disinclines me from speaking and from 
writing; not from an excess of sorrow or depression of spirits, so much as 
from inertness and torpor, and that flatness of soul lying abject at the foot 
of fatalism." 

188 BATH. SPAIN, AND LLANTHONY. [ ?£2* " x 

He had other matters equally troubling him at the same date. 
Though hardly yet in complete possession of the abbey, his " unin- 
terrupted series of vexations and disappointments in connection with 
it" had already begun. Not only his Welsh neighbors had been 
doing him some mischief, but one of his own servants had cut down 
about sixty fine trees, lopping others ; and this, which he considered 
as the greatest of all earthly calamities, as he told Southey in a letter 
from Bath, had confined him to the house several days. " We 
recover from illness, we build palaces, we retain or change the fea- 
tures of the earth at pleasure, — excepting that only ! The whole of 
human life can never replace one bough." But it is time that I 
should now, however briefly, describe the place which was to be the 
source to him of so many anxieties, and whose acquisition cost him 
so much more than was justified or repaid by any happiness it 
yielded him. 

A letter to me nearly thirty years ago thus whimsically referred to 
it : " Llanthony is a noble estate : it produces everything but herb- 
age, corn, and money. My son, however, may perhaps make some- 
I thing of it ; for it is about eight miles long, and I planted a million 
of trees on it more than thirty years ago. I lived there little more 
than eight months altogether, and built a house to pull it down 
again. Invent a hero, if you can, who has performed such exploits." 
Here was an instance of my old friend setting down as the thing he 
did the thing he only intended to do ; for his million of trees fell 
considerably short in the reality of perhaps a tenth of the number at 
which his fancy reckoned them. Such as they were, however, his 
plantations have been the most profitable part of the estate ; which 
might in other points also have deserved as little the irony applied 
to it, if its capabilities even to the same extent had been seen and 
used. Very far from ill laid out would have been the whole seventy 
or eighty thousand pounds drawn into it, if they had but been 
expended with competent skill and prudent management. 

I saw it lately. From Abergavenny I posted along those eight 
miles of hill and vale which belong still to Landor's son, the moun- 
tains on either side becoming more steep, and the valley more rich 
and picturesque, as, twining round and round the circuitous approach, 
Llanthony comes in view. Less of corn than pasture there is of 
course, and much of unreclaimed and mountain waste ; but I saw 
also, through the whole extent of valley that we passed, abundance 
of fair meadow land, farms to all appearance under good cultivation, 
and sheep feeding on the slopes that even the famous breeds which 
Landor boasted to have brought over from Spain could hardly have 
excelled. At almost the farthest corner of the northern angle of 
Monmouthshire, into which the estate projects itself, stands what is 
left of the abbey from which it takes its name ; and it would not be 
easy to find in any part of Britain a ruin amid nobler surroundings. 

It is at the base of an amphitheatre of lofty hills, forming part of 

3° -39-1 w POSSESSION OF THE ABBEY. 189 

the cliain of the Black Mountains, through which runs the rich deep 
rale of Ewyas. Drayton has described the place in that good old 
book the Polyolbion, which Charles Lamb himself could hardly have 
liked better than Lander did : — 

" 'Mongst HatteriU's lofty hills, that with the clouds are crowned, 
The TOlley Ewyas lies, immured so deep and round, 
As they below that see the mountains rise so high 
Might think the strangling herds were grazing in the sky: 
Which in it such a shape of solitude doth bear, 
As nature at the first appointed it for prayer " : — 

and that still is the impression it gives. As it may have been two 

hundred or twelve hundred years ago, as when the old poet saw it 

or when the uncle of King Arthur is fabled to have chosen it for his 

retreat, it strikes the visitor now. I saw it in .the later days of autumn ; 

• but the gayety of summer would not have been so suited to the scene. 

Beautiful as the principal portion of the ruin is, the sense of beauty 

is not the feeling it first awakens. All that instantly attracts and 

fascinates the eye in the lovely and light picturesqueness of Tintern 

is absent from Llanthony. But deeper thoughts connect themselves 

with the solid simplicity of its gray massive towers, and the severely 

solemn aspect of its ruined church, taking from nature no ornament 

other than that worn by the hills around, majestic and bare as they, 

and even in ruin seeming as eternal. A place to meditate or pray in ; 

but not, one cannot but instinctively feel in looking at it, to carouse 

or build a house in. 

What is yet standing of the house once attempted to be built there, 
something less than half a mile up the slope at the back of the abbey, 
is nearly all that is left upon the spot to point the moral of the story 
I am to tell. Of the million* trees that were to have enriched the 
estate, but a small tithe are visible in the plantations now. The 
bridge built over the river Hondy that crosses the valley was swept 
away by floods. The praiseworthy design of restoring the magnifi- 
cent centre nave, for which many Saxon and Norman stones were 
taken down and numbered, added only fresh fragments to the ruin. 
The road that was to connect the abbey with the mansion has all but 
passed away without a trace. But in three high ragged walls, open 
to the sky and when I saw them enclosing a haystack, and in some 
ruined but not yet unroofed stables and cellars, built on the very 
edge of a mountain stream that rushes swiftly past into the valley, 
what had once been an inhabited dwelling presents itself still. And 
the visitor who doubts the wisdom of building in such a scene at all 
has his wonder infinitely raised at the spot selected for the mansion. 

Fifty-six years ago appeared the well-known Beauties of England 
and Wales, in which Landor is stated to have become recently pro- 
prietor of the abbey, and is reproached for indifference to its artificial 
beauties by having " directed many alterations to be made in the 
ruins, and fitted up some parts for habitation." This, however, is 
not just. Landor's only wish was to restore ; and it was not his act, 


but that of his predecessor, to build among the ruins. In March, 
1809, a year before that book was published, he was thus writing' to 
Southey : " I am about to remove an immense mass of building 
which Colonel Wood erected against the abbey, and with which he 
has shamefully disfigured the ruins. I would live on bread and 
water three years to undo what he has done, and three more to re- 
pair what he has wasted. It is some consolation to have the idea of 
receiving you in Monmouthshire next season. I will soon have some- 
thing of a cottage built, and will send down a whole teacaddyful of 
books." The something of a cottage was the unfortunate mansion ; 
but it rose from the earth so slowly and amid so many troubles and 
vexations, that he was fain from time to time to add to his temporary 
abode in the southern tower originally fitted up by Colonel Wood as 
a shooting-box, and which these additions enabled him to make his 
home for the most part of the time he lived at Llanthony. That 
home is now the Llanthony Abbey Tavern, the bailiff of the property 
being landlord ; and its condition at this day is proof that Landor s 
makeshifts " sixty years since " were not contemptible. Part of the 
old abbot's lodgings are adjacent, the arched refectory now serving 
for cellar to a spacious antique kitchen at the base of the tower ; and 
there is also part of the old building in separate use as a farm, 
which then was available for domestic offices. Altogether, when the 
pictures had been placed and the tcacaddy of books emptied, it was 
no bad temporary dwelling for the new lord of Llanthony. 

Nor were the objects proposed by him in taking possession of his 
new estate other than the worthiest, and such as he might fairly have 
hoped to accomplish. He was bent upon restoring and civilizing on 
every side of him ; the mountain wastes, the church and abbey ruins, 
the shocking impassable roads, the ignorant barbarous people. The 
extent to which he failed will appear as the little story unfolds itself, 
and some of the reasons why ; but it is right to say at once that he 
really entertained such designs. Unhappily he found the stubborn 
and evil qualities of the Welsh in his neighborhood to be greatly in 
excess of his expectation*; and what most repelled him from his self- 
chosen task was what should most have impressed him with its 
supreme necessity. Objecting a few years later to the phrase that 
the vulgar have their prejudices, he said that the prejudices belong 
not to them but to those who ought to remove them if they have 
any ; and the same remark applies equally to other accompaniments 
of humanity in its more abased and neglected forms, which will ever 
remain ill-intentioned till we have given it other intention by some 
kind of cherishing and care. 

Landor's earliest correspondence about Llanthony was with the 
bishop of the diocese, Burgess of St. Davids, afterwards translated to 
Salisbury. A part of the estate was the living of Cwmyoy, of which 
the parish church is five miles from the abbey on the Abergavenny 
road j its chapel of ease, in which there is regular afternoon service 


still, being the old church within the abbey enclosure ; a structure 
which by its rudeness as much startled me at my visit the other day, 
as it seems, when first seen, to have surprised and dissatisfied the 
new lord of the estate. He at once put before the bishop a proposal 
to restore what he believed to have been the original church, and to 
apply to more becoming use the materials of the existing chapel. His 
letter had been six weeks, unanswered when he wrote again ; and one 
would like to have seen the bishop as he read this second letter. 

" Several weeks ago I thought it my duty to address a letter to your 
lordship on some alterations it is expedient to make in the chapel of Llan- 
thony. I wished to restore to its former state and uses an edifice which I 
believe to have been the original chapel, no less from its internal and ex- 
ternal structure than from the field in which it is situated being called the 
Chapel Field. The ruinous place which receives the few people who attend 
divine service in the summer months was not originally built for any such 
purpose ; and your lordship is best able to judge, or to discover, whether it 
ever has been consecrated. If it has, it is the only instance of an ancient 
chapel in which I ever saw a chimney. It is under the same roof with ox- 
stalls, and surrounded with a farm-yard. My intention is to remove instan- 
taneously the buildings on which it leans ; and it declines so greatly from 
the perpendicular that its fall is certain. I had hoped for* permission to 
construct from the materials a school and a receptacle for the poor. I have 
conversed with the lower ranks of more than one nation in Europe, and last 
of all with those who have generally been considered the most super- 
stitious and the most barbarous. But if drunkenness, idleness, mischief, and 
revenge are the principal characteristics of the savage state, what nation, I 
will not say in Europe, but in the world, is so singularly tattoed with them 
as the Welsh ? Had I never known how to appreciate the sacrifice your 
lordship makes, voluntarily and silently and alone, turning away your eyes 
from the most perfect models of the most polished ages on a country which 
at no period of its history hath produced one illustrious character, most cer- 
tainly I should not have requested your assistance in forwarding its inter- 
ests. God alone is great enough for me to ask anything of twice. I wished 
to repair some monuments of antiquity, and to rescue some others from the 
injuries of time. We have beheld without attention a strange phenomenon. 
While Scotland and Ireland have been producing in every generation his- 
torians, philosophers, and poets, the wretched .Welsh repeat their idle 
legends from first to second childhood, bring forward a thousand attesta- 
tions to the existence of witches and fairies, boast of their illustrious ances- 
tors and of the bards more illustrious who have recorded them, and convert 
the tomb of Taliessin into a gate-post." 

To this the bishop was prompt in his reply, wisely avoiding the 
Celtic question introduced so explosively, and confining himself as 
strictly to the first letter as if but a jog-trot reminder had reached 
him with the second. 

" Abergwilly, October 9, 1809. Sir, I am very sorry that your letter of the 
13th of August has lain by me so long unanswered. My only apology is 
the true one, that it has been overwhelmed in an accumulation of daily 
correspondence. I was much interested in the subject of your letter, and 
in the liberality of your offer to exonerate the parish from all charges in the 
improvement which you suggest, by the removal of Llanthony chapeL I 


should be very glad if my consent would be sufficient for enabling you to 
do what you think would be serviceable to the parish, as well as 
convenient to yourself. But I believe an act of Parliament would be 
necessary for the removal of a place of public worship. Of this, however, 
you are probably aware. I shall have it in my power very shortly to 
inform myself of everything that concerns your request and my consent, 
when you shall hear from me again. I am. sir. your obedient servant, 
T. St Davids." 

The promise was kept within a month ; the bishop writing again 
on the 8th of November to tell Landor that, having had the oppor- 
tunity of inquiring into the state of Llanthony church, and the ad- 
vantages of the proposal for its renewal, he had no hesitation in 
giving his assent to it ; but that an act of Parliament also would be 
necessary. To which Landor replied on the 15th from Clifton ; first 
remarking very dryly, that as he had recently been obliged to adopt 
such a measure to effect the settlement of some estates, he should be 
slow to renew his efforts in that quarter ; and next proceeding to 
submit some points for episcopal consideration which the bishop 
found probably harder to digest than even the Celtic onslaught had 

" Although the chapel might be better, I dare not replace it when wa 
must be exposed ad millia qumdecim et ducentos. When I first addressed 
your lordship on the subject, I had a precedent in view obscurely. Mr. 
Chetwynd, of Ingestre had permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury 
to take down the parish church and build another. Plott mentions it in his 
History of Staffordshire. This event has been impressed on my memory 
from another cause. The church is dedicated Deo Opt: Max: although 
Voltaire has asserted that he was the first and only man who had ever 
dedicated a church to God. I should not have ventured so far in reply to 
your lordship's condescension, if I had been aware that Parliament had ever 
taken away or lessened this power in the bishop or the primate." 

The bishop made no reply, and here ended Lan dor's first and last 
effort as a church-restorer. But a Conservative in church affairs he 
always called himself, soberly as well as jocosely ; and when proposing, 
some thirty years later, to cut down bishops' incomes and add a trifle 
to the stipends of curates, he published his letters under that title ; * 
which, in this particular transaction of Llanthony church, let ub con- 
fess that he deserved perhaps better than his right reverend corre- 
spondent did. 

* The Letten of a Omaervative (1886). I quote from the third letter: " I had three 
church livings in mv gift, one very considerable (about a thousand a vear), and two 
smaller, which are still m my gift. It may therefore be conceived that f am not quite 
indifferent to what may befall the church. These things it is requisite to mention, 
now I deem it proper to appear not genetically as a Conservative, but peisonally." A 
sentence or two from the second letter are also worth giving. " I never had a quarrel 
or disagreement with any clergyman on any occasion. I owe my education, such as it 
is, to virtuous men of that profession. Two of them are dead, whom I remember with 
love and reverence; the gentle and saintly Ben well, my private tutor at Oxford, and 
the good old fatherlv Langley, who received me previouslv. The patient instructor nnd 
the gentlemanly scholar, Doctor Sleath of St. Paul's, will accept the gratitude, while 
he discountenances the politics, of his unruly pupil at Bugby." 


Six months earlier than his first letter to the bishop he had been 
writing of the Welsh to Southey in much the same strain, and the 
letter will tell us also how slowly things were getting into shape at 
Llanthony. He writes from Bath, and has been sending a message 
to his friend's uncle, who had a parsonage on the borders of the Wye. 

" Happily on the borders of the Wye the people are more civilized than 
about me. They are more active, and activity will not permit the larking 
and loose indulgence of malignity and revenge. My people are idle and 
drunken. Idleness gives them time, and drunkenness gives them spirit, for 
mischief I hope before the close, not of the next but of the succeeding 
summer, to have one room to sit and converse in, with two or three bed- 
rooms. The bad weather has endangered both what is ruined and what is 
repaired. As these repairs are to be annihilated by me, I grieve the less : but 
if the stones are thrown down, they will be broken, and much time will be 
consumed in working more." 

In the succeeding summer he wrote from Llanthony itself, not un- 
comfortably lodged in the southern tower, and eager to have a visit 
from his friend. Direful and never ceasing had been his troubles. 
His new house, not half finished, had cost him already two thousand 
pounds. Upon his estate, of which he had not been in possession 
three years, he had expended in labor eight thousand pounds. Yet 
the people who chiefly had benefited by this outlay treated him as 
their greatest enemy. The picture is not a cheerful one, but would 
probably have been not less true if its tints had been somewhat 

" While I was in Spain more injury was done to the abbey than I think it 
possible to repair, though I would live on a hundred a year for the remainder 
of my life to do it In architects I have passed from a great scoundrel to a 
greater, a thing I thought impossible ; and have been a whole year in mak- 
ing a farm-house habitable. It is not half finished, and has cost already 
two thousand pounds. I think seriously of filling it with chips and straw 
and setting fire to it. Never was anything half so ugly, though there is not 
a brick or tile throughout Again and again I lament I was disappointed in 
my attempt to fix in your delightful country. The earth contains no race of 
human beings so totally vile and worthless as the Welsh. I doubt whether 
they will allow me to make improvements, I am certain they will not allow 
me to enjoy them. I have expended in labor, within three years, eight 
thousand pounds amongst them, and yet they treat me as their greatest 
enemy. ^Nevertheless, when I see the spherical head of a Welshman, I am 
indebted to him for a perfect view of Loweswater. My mind glances from 
him as the point of a sword from a block of stone, and I lose my aversion 
in my regret" 
rThe letter is finished at " Crickhowel " on " Monday morning.' 1 ] 
" So far I had written on Friday night On Saturday I went to Ragland, 
and yesterday came hither. I am dismissing one half of my workmen ; and 
by superintending the remainder I shall certainly find srXcov jjpurv warns. 
^hen I had the happiness of meeting you in Bristol, you mentioned your 
design of coming into Monmouthshire this summer. I hope nothing will 
hinder it Before two months have passed, I can give you a comfortable 
bed. I have two small rooms finished, and my kitchen will be completed 


194 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONY. ^22- xi"* 

in six weeks. If you go soon to your uncle's, I will send you some melons. 
If he is fond of them, I will send him some more. Let me hear if you are 
not too busy, for I would wish him to remember me; though sending him 
melons is like twitching him by the coat to make him look back at me. 
When the weather is bad and unhealthy, as we have had it lately, I think 
of your little family ; when it is fine I think of you an/1 the mountains and 
lakes. Adieu. Let me add, for a little while." 

The visit was not paid till the summer following ; and soon after 
the date of that letter he left Llanthony. Worth subjoining are 
some remarks of his written just before he left to a friend (Miss 
Holford) who had sent him a printed reply to one of the sneering 
attacks on Wordsworth of which there was no lack in those days. 

"I am not surprised that the criticism stands higher in your estimation 
than in mine. It is evidently the composition of a zealous and indignant 
friend. The poems, in my opinion, are far above the necessity of any such 
defence. The attack was not only weak but wicked. Weak, because a 
man of genius must know, and common minds alone can be ignorant, what 
breadth of philosophy, what energy and intensity of thought, what insight 
into the heart, and what observation of nature, are requisite for the produc- 
tion of such poetry. Wicked, to behold such signal gifts not merely with 
disrespect, but with irreverence and malice. I am sorry to say it, there is 
as great a difference between our commendations and our censures as there 
is between a riding-school and a race-course, both in respect to latitude and 
animation. Still, indignation is not only the offspring but the parent of in- 
justice, as regularly as the John Joneses in my parish are fathers and 
children of J. Joneses with a Jones ap John between. I will show it to be 
the case in this criticism on Mr. Wordsworth, where there is often an outcry 
preceded by no wound, and a sarcasm accompanied by no wit The charm 
of irony is always broken at the very first glance of anger. No writer ever 
wrote more violently than Swift, yet he had the just caution and genuine 
taste to keep his irony at all times separate from any such expressions. 
This, added to a closeness of argument and a compactness of style, was in- 
deed his principal excellence. He never attempted to round his sentences 
by redundant words, aware that from the simplest and the fewest arise the 
secret springs of genuine harmony." 

And because he would himself have liked that a particular letter 
should be printed that did not reach till he had quitted Llanthony, 
from which it followed him, I here subjoin it During this year 
Doctor Parr had lost in rapid succession his wife, his granddaughter, 
and his eldest daughter (Sarah, married to Mr. Wynne);* Landor 

* Put up with the same letter, I find two others, dated respectively the 16th and 
24th November, 1806, having reference to his younger daughter Catlieriue's death, 
really touching. I find also, under date of 21st June, 1808, a reply from Parr to Lan- 
dor's" disavowal of a satirical attack that seems to have made some noise in Warwick. 
41 To my learned, ingenious, high-spirited, sound-hearted friend, Walter Landor, greet- 
ing. I had not even heard of the poem you mention; and if it contain any abuse of 
me, I should instantly have pronounced it impossible for such abuse to flow from vour 
pen. My excellent and dear friend, how could you give yourself the trouble of defend- 
ing yourself to me against a Warwick rumor; or for one moment suppose me so 
completely sottish as to believe such an imputation against Walter Landor?" Some 
light is thrown on what the squib was, and on the general prevalence of the rumor that 
rendered necessary Landor' s disavowal, by the subjoined allusion in one of his sister 

^T. 33-39-] ™ POSSESSION OF THE 'ABBEY. 195 

hr.d been eager to offer sympathy to his grieving friend ; and here is 
the old man's acknowledgment, dated in August, 1810. It is curi- 
ously characteristic of him. One can hardly read it with gravity, 
yet it would be grossly unjust ty> treat it with disrespect. Grandiose 
and attitudinizing as it is, it is yet the expression of a genuine sor- 
row, for his daughter's death had struck him heavily. 

" Dear Walter Landor, — Many and wise and affectionate are the let- 
ters which I have received from my friends, wishing to console me under 
tl»e severe afflictions which with a rapidity almost unexampled have lately 
fallen upon me. But in candor of feeling, in grandeur of topics, in energy 
of language, they are far, very far surpassed by the letter which you wrote 
to me on the last and the heaviest of the calamities which I am doomed to 
suffer. Walter, I shall cherish and preserve it as a noble monument of 
your eloquence, your sensibility, and your friendship. My religious princi- 
ples, Walter, are deep and most sincere. They are sufficifnt, I believe, to 
£upport me, even in this season of sorrow. I have yet remaining friends 
whom I love and honor. I have many duties to discharge for the good of 
my fellow-creatures. I resign myself to the unsearchable but righteous dis- 
pensations of my Maker ; and I will endeavor so to act that death succeeded 
by judgment may be a pure and perpetual source of the most salutary and 
animating reflection. I am going on a ramble into Shropshire, and pray 
write to me, at Rev. Mr. Butler's, Shrewsbury. I intend some time or 
other to go into Devonshire. I shall reside next in Bath, and I will so 
make my arrangements as to have the comfort of your society. Write to 
me, and come to me when you come to Warwick. Again and again your 
letter recurs to me, and refreshes me. Let us cultivate friendship while we 
continue in this world, and cherish the hope of meeting in another and a 
better state, where the pangs of separation will be felt no more. I pray 
God to bless you, and am most sincerely, dear Walter, your friend, S. Parr. 
When you have nothing else, or nothing better to do, recall to your mind 
the image of my dear Sarah, and employ your mighty genius in describing 
what you think of her deserts and her virtues. July 31, 1810." m 

From Bath, to which that letter was redirected, he continued to 
report to Southey of his buildings and plantings at the abbey ; and 
this was the winter when he began Count Julian in the concert-room. 

" In reading your History of Brazil I envied those who possessed the 
seeds of the pme, and wish Sir Home Popham had brought a few to Eng- 
land. I am convinced that in time the prophecy in Virgil's Pollio will not * 
be far from verified : Omnis fert omnia tellus. AH resinous woods, I think, 
are better adapted to cold climates than to hot, because, if insects puncture 
them while young, or any violence is done to them in later periods, the gum 

KHzabeth's letters of the 10th of June, 1808: " A little poem entitled Gutft Porridge- 
p* has been much talked of here: it is printed by Slatter and Munday, and sent here 

wad. It could not be written by other people hereabout, because it was far too clever 
for them. It laughs at most of the people who go to Dr. Parr's, some it treats ten- 
derly, some it roasts terriblv; whilst the Doctor himself fills the foreground of the 
picture, with all his good and many of his ridiculous qualities about him. Yet though 
Jt professes to bring in all who surround the Doctor, it never mentions your name." 
Landor nevertheless was not the author. 

196 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONY. [ rt£- "*" 

exudes from them and kills them. This cannot be so excessive in a colder 
and more astringent climate. I fancy I am acting wisely in ordering ash to 
be planted on the highest ground, because ash is more flexible and more 
tough than fir ; added to which, by losing its leaves, it does not present so 
compact a body to the wintry winds." • 

Still his planting did not thrive ; his cedar groves were like the 
groves of romance ; and he saw the million trees with which he had 
indulged his fancy daily dwindle and decay. He began by buying 
two thousand cones, calculating a hundred seeds for each, and believ- 
ing that suoh had really been the product ; " but alas ! the rains and 
the field-mice have hardly left me a thousand. I must begin again ; 
and instead of raising a hundred and fifty thousand trees must be 
contented with fifty thousand, or perhaps with thirty." The rest of 
the letter is about Count Julian, which he says will be fairly tran- 
scribed within a week. 

The evening of the day when the transcription began was for Lan- 
dor a memorable one. 


Writing to Southey in April, 1811, of many unimportant and in- 
different things ; suggestions for his tragedy, criticism of an epitaph 
by his friend which he thought comparable to the few finest speci- 
mens of such things in the Greek, questions of whether they are to 
meet in London or in Bath, where he has a spare bed ready ; he thus 
fills up the last unoccupied corner of his letter. " It is curious that 
the evening of my beginning to transcribe the tragedy, I fell in love. 
I have found a girl without a sixpence, and with very few accomplish- 
ments, ijhe is pretty, graceful, and good-tempered, — three things 
indispenMble to my happiness. Adieu, and congratulate me. I for- 
got to say that I have added thirty-five verses to Scene 2 of Act III. 
There was hardly time enough for the reappearance of Opa&* 
Southey is delighted at the news and gives him joy sincerely. The 
very Welshmen will become more endurable if he takes a wife to 
Llanthony. He means himself to be at Bath in July, and insists 
that, if Landor is absent from it then, he shall come on to Kes- 

A few days after the letter to Southey he wrote to his mother, 
who had questioned him on the reports she had heard, qualifying her 
motherly interest with a little tender reproach. 

" Dear Mother, — I hasten to acknowledge your very kind and affec- 
tionate letter, though I am several hours too late for the post You hare, 
throughout the whole of my life, constantly treated me with the same good- 
ness, and I should be very ungrateful if I could ever forget it I hope we 
shall often meet again, and pass many happy days together yet My pres- 
ence will be so often requisite to overlook what is going on at Llanthony 
that I am afraid I should hardly be able to stay longer than a few days with 
you at Ipsley. It would give me the greatest pleasure to see you, and I 


certainly would come oyer for that purpose if it were only for a day. The 
name of my intended bride is Julia Thuillier. She has no pretensions of 
any kind, and her want of fortune was the very thing which determined 
me to marry her. I shall be sorry to leave Bath entirely, but when I have 
completed my house I must remain there. Believe me, dear mother, your 
ever affectionate, W. S. Landob." 

Not only had want of fortune been no sort of drawback, but it was 
in truth the very thing for which he was marrying the girl ! There 
was small opening for family remonstrance after that, nor does any 
seem to have been attempted. The marriage took place before the 
end of May. It had all been arranged and settled after the manner 
of the eternal friendship between Cecilia and Matilda in the Anti- 
Jacobin. A sudden thought had struck him and the thing was done. 
He had married a pretty little girl, of whom he seems literally to 
have had no other knowledge than that she had more curls on her 
head than any other girl in Bath ; and that she was, as I find him 
also saying in one of his letters, descended from a Swiss noble family. 
In sober fact his little baroness, as he liked to call her, was the 
daughter of a banker at Banbury, whom ill success had taken to other 
employment in Spain, while his family found a home in Bath. There 
was nevertheless, in all this, nothing of necessity to prevent the mar- 
riage proving suitable and happy, if "what was so entirely wanting in 
both before the ceremony had only been in any sufficient degree, sup- 
plied by either after it This, unfortunately, continued to the last to 
be altogether absent ; and with whom primarily, and to the greatest 
extent, the blame must be held to rest, I do not think there can be 
any kind of doubt. I will in fairness add what is told me by Mr. 
Robert Landor. " I must do this little wife the justice to say that I 
saw much of her, about three years after her marriage, during a long 
journey through France and Italy, and that I left her with regret and 


All the danger appears to have been foreseen by Birch, who wrote 
his congratulations from Magdalen College on the 20th of June. The 
marriage had taken him by surprise, and he had been expecting that 
Landor would have written to him. He now told him that such a 
step, he had long thought, would be likely to improve and secure 
his happiness, and he did not doubt but that the choice made would 
confirm this opinion. Excellent as the rude material might be, how- 
ever, something would still be wanting. " You will think me a 
strange fellow for talking in this coarse and homely way on such an 
occasion. The air of a college perhaps contributes to chill one's 
feelings a little prematurely, though indeed it is time they should be 
pretty well sobered by the age of thirty-seven, at which I am now 
arrived. Well, then, do not smile at me, but it is my belief that an 
excellent wife is seldom made perfect to our hands, but is in part the 
creation of the husband after marriage, the result of his character and 
behavior acting upon her own." How much might have been saved to 


Landor if he had but taken sufficiently into his brain and heart these 
few wise words ! 

No misgivings had the good old Parr, nothing but affectionate re- 
joicings. " Be assured/' he wrote on the 7th of June, " that my 
heart would leap for joy if I saw both of you at my parsonage gate, 
and that I should give you a most cordial reception. God bless you 
both ! Walter, your genius and talents, your various and splendid 
attainments, your ardent affections, your high and heroic spirit, will 
ever command my admiration, and give me a lively interest in your 
happiness. I have read the Alcaics five or six times. They are 
worthy of you." With the announcement of his marriage Landor 
had sent the stanch old Whig a Latin poem against the ministry. 

By the middle of June Landor and his wife had taken up their 
abode at Llanthony, and at the end of that month he reminded 
Southey of his promised visit. " After my marriage I stayed at 
Rodboro' and Petty France for three weeks, intending to spring upon 
you on your way to London. There was a disinclination in my wife 
either to remain at Bath or visit Clifton. She wished to escape 
from visits of ceremony and curiosity, and I would not hint to her 
any reason why I should be happy to pass a few days at Bath." Tell- 
ing him then of his correspondence with Longman about Count 
Julian, the ruin of his hopes and conflagration of his unfinished tra- 
gedies, as already detailed, he goes on : — 

" I now employ my mornings in cutting off the heads of thistles with my 
stick, and hoeing my young chestnuts. My house is raised half its height* 
Do we lie out of your way ? I cannot promise you much comfort here, but 
I should be most heartily glad to see you. I live among ruins and rubbish, 
and, what is infinitely worse, bandboxes and luggage and broken chairs : 
but I have a spare bed in the same turret where I sleep ; and I have made 
a discovery, which is, that there are both nightingales and glowworms in 
my valley. I would give two or three thousand pounds less for a place 
that was without them. I hardly know one flower from another, but it 


with them. They always meet one in tlie same place, at the same season ; 
and years have no more effect on their placid countenances than on so mauy 
of the most favored gods." * 

To this and another letter extending the invitation to Mrs. 
Southey, his friend replied from London in the middle of July that in, 
three weeks they hoped to see him in his turret. They were to leave 
London that day week. Southey was full of hope and eagerness for 
the visit. He had been once at Llanthony thirteen years before, and! 
had then to ford the Hondy on foot because he could not find a' 
bridge. He wonders whether Landor had yet discovered the St. 
David's Cavern which Drayton places there, and for which he had 
himself inquired in vain. They proposed before nightfall on Monday, 

* For the rest of this passage In his letter, see ante, p. 8. 


the 12th of August, to reach the Yale of Ewyas, where they would 
stay two days, going on then to Ludlow; and, weary of London 
which he hated, it would refresh him both soul and body to breathe 
the air of the mountains once more. No time was lost by Landor in 

u We shall be most happy to see you on the twelfth. But there are two 
things which trouble me not a little, — your departure so soon as two days 
afterwards, and your arrival here just at nightfall. The road is ^erfectJy 
safe, and indeed excellent : but I, who could not in common decency take a 
seat in the inside of the carriage, dare not, for fear of a rheumatism which 
tormented me nearly two whole years, sit on the outside late in the evening. 
If you are resolved to continue your journey in such haste, however, do not 
let' me lose the only chance perhaps I shall ever have of being your fellow- 
traveller. My travelling-carriage is the easiest I believe in the world, and 
the road to Hereford, through which place I presume you go to Ludlow, is 
the roughest I have looked in vain for St. David's Cave : not a cave is 
there in my whole manor. This is very extraordinary in so mountainous a 
country, and where the earth has given way in so many other directions." 

f The visit passed off with perfect success. Visits of other friends 
• were made in that and the following year ; Landor's sisters came ; 
and he prevailed even upon his mother to see for herself what the 
abbey was like ; but he always had a satisfaction in remembering 
that the first who shared his turret with him there were Robert and 
Edith Southey. They stayed three nights and two days : days to 
which Southey referred six-and-twenty years later, when writing the 
prefaces to his collected poems, as having left with him still " a joy 
for memory " ; and of which, more than forty years later, Landor gave 
this memorial, in lines to Southey's son. 

" Twelve years had past* when upon Avon's cliff, 
Hard by his birthplace, first our hands were joined; 
After three more lie visited my home. 
Along Llanthony's ruined /usles we walkt 
And woods then pathless, over verdant hill 
And ruddy mountain, and aside the stream 
Of sparkling Hondy. Just at close of day 
There by the comet's light we saw the fox 
Rush from the alders, nor relax in speed 
Until he trod the pathway of his sires 
Under the hoary crag of Cwmyoy. 
Then both were happy." 

Other memorial of the visit remains not, excepting in such hints 
as may be gathered of subjects talked of between them, from these 
passages of letters written immediately afterwards. 

" Julia and I have been anxiously waiting to hear how Mrs. Southey and 
you find yourselves after so long a journey. 

" This morning I had a letter from Portugal from a sensible man and ex- 
cellent officer, Walter O'Hara. The officers do not appear to entertain very 
sanguine hopes of ultimate success. We have lost a vast number of brave 

* He means, from the time when Southey wrote the generous review of Gtbir. 


men, and the French have gained a vast number, and fight as well as under 
the republic. This revives in my mind a toast I was accused of giving at 
Oxford : May there be only two classes of people, the republican and the 
paralytic ! " 

" As there are not quarrels enough in the world, my plasterers and car- 
penters have had a vehement one, and one party or other resolved to go 
away. The dispute was referred to me* I told them I would examine it 
thoroughly ; that a very few days would show who were in the wrong ; 
and that if I heard anything more until I had taken time to consider, I 
should think those the most blamable who showed themselves the most 
impatient How easily duped men are 1 I Aa<2-heard nothing of the mat- 
ters in dispute, yet all were satisfied, and probably I shall hear nothing, and 
they will all stay. I cease to wonder how Pitt> the shallowest man I can 
bring to my recollection, cajoled the gentlemen of the House of Commons, 
who certainly are far less acute than these carpenters and plasterers, and 
whose living is far less dependent on the continual practice of petty knav- 

" Let me trouble you, if you have any correspondence with the agricultu- 
rist in Durham, to mention that I have already several hundred acres to let 
instantly, for a pound an acre, tithe free, extremely small parochial rates, a 
lease for twenty-one years, but after the first ten a rise of four shillings per 
acre. Many thousands of land to be enclosed, at three shillings for the first 
ten years, six for the remaining. A railroad now forming within a mile 
along a perfect level to the market-town ; lime and marl on the estate, and 
underwood sufficient for all the new enclosures, which will be given. I 
hope to get a scientific tenant for about sixteen hundred acres. He shall 
have every encouragement, but he should have six or seven thousand pounds. 
I have received two offers since I saw you, but for parts only." 

That last reference was. to the subject of Landor's earnest wish to 
get a good tenant for a large farm at Llanthony, on which they had 
specially talked together at the visit ; and it contained unhappily the 
germ of infinite vexation and trouble. Southey now replied that he 
had written to Durham, and hoped to get him the tenant ; but he 
had to inform him -afterwards that his Durham farmer, George Taylor, 
would not be ready for a year or two. Then there went another 
letter to tell him that Taylor had strongly recommended Thomas 
Hutchinson, the brother of Wordsworth's wife, and that through 
Wordsworth he was going himself at once to put the matter in train. 
" Thomas rents a farm not yery far from yon, being on the edge of 
Radnorshire near Kington : he is an illiterate man, but a very worthy 
one, and a thorough-bred farmer, with money at command." * Un- 

• In the same letter from Keswick (of course unpublished, or I should not quote it), 
there is a whimsical mention of the lengths to which priest-tyranny was going in Ire- 
land. " Wakefield, who is about a statistic account or Ireland, has been here. He tells 
me that when a Methodist gets up to preach to the people the Catholic priest comes 
with a horsewhip and lays about him till he puts the congregation to flight. This he 
has twice been an eyewitness of. The Bishop of Meath also, who is lodging here, tells 
me that when a scnool had been established in his neighborhood upon Lancaster's 
sneaking system of teaching no peculiar religion, the priest used to wuylay the children 
with the none whip; and thus literally kept the little Catholics away by main force, 


fortunately it turned out that even Thomas was not to be had either, 
and they must try again elsewhere. The man yet un thought of, who 
was to be Lander's plague m the matter, waited in the background. 
Southey had volunteered to find a " farmer agriculturist " willing to 
become a Llanthony tenant, and nothing short of success would sat- 
isfy him; but the very last man in his thoughts, the man of all 
others he was not likely to have chosen, the spiteful Fates had them- 
selves already laid hold of, and when the rest had withdrawn were to 
thrust unasked on the scene. These are things of destiny. 

By this time September had arrived ; and the abbot of Llanthony, 
as his half-sister Arden persisted always in calling him, was writing 
with unwonted cheerfulness, as commonly happens at the very mo- 
ment (astrologically) when some malignant influence is crossing one's 
house of life. 

u Julia desires I will present her love to Mrs. Southey. ' Yes, if you will 
send it to Mr. Southey too.' We had lately some rainy days, after six 
weeks of weather perfectly fine and hot, — a thing never known before since 
the creation. Thanks to the comet. When Darwin was projecting a 
scheme for destroying the ice at both poles, I wish he could have found a 
coadjutor who would have planned a large wire trap, or any other, to catch 
comets. Your hills in Cumberland and ours in Monmouthshire might then 
produce plenty of good wine, and perhaps a little coffee. I seriously think 
we have the best climate in the world ; because it is the most comfortable 
to brute animals, — and there are a hundred of these to one man, — and 
because men must be industrious to keep themselves warm in winter. 
Bodily strength, of course* national strength, arises from it ; together with 
such habits as exempt them from the vices of idleness." * 

When next he writes it is winter ; but though the scene has sadly 
changed, he is happily unconscious yet of the blow that has fallen on 
him, and thus innocently discourses of that man of destiny, his com- 
ing tenant, who is to occasion him so much misery. 

when he could not operate upon the minds of their parents.*' Remembering the clamor 
raised with especial vehemence at the time for Catholic " Emancipation," this seems 
rather strong. 

m * The action of climate on character is a subject frequently mentioned in his writ- 
ings; and something of the thought in this letter found afterwards nobler utterance in 
the magnificent lines (Hellenics): — 

" We are what suns and winds and waters make us; 

The mountains are our sponsors, and the rills 

Fashion and win their nursling with their smiles. 

But where the land Is dim from tyranny, 

There tiny pleasures occupy the place 

Of glories and of duties; as the feet 

Of fabled faeries when the sun goes down 

Trip o'er the grass where wrestlers strove by day. 

Then Justice, called the Eternal One above, 

Is more inconstant than the buoyant forms 

That burst into existence from the froth 
% Of every-varying ocean: what is best 

Then becomes worst; what loveliest, most deformed. 

The heart is hardest in the softest climes; 

The passions flourish, the affections die." 



" It is likely that I shall owe a tenant to you. A Mr. Betham has men- 
tioned your name, and proposes to come over here next week. He brings 
his wife. I am afraid she will be starved to death almost. The rain runs 
every day down the stairs ; and the wind, once or twice a week, blows half 
a window down. I cannot wait for my masons to finish. I must be off* to 
Bath in another fortnight This is no place to spend a Christmas in. I have 
lost some stained glass which I intended for my bath, and must supply its 
place with worse." 

To which replied Southey that Charles Betham was certainly known 
to him, and came of an excellent stock, but he had never thought of 
asking him to be tenant at Llanthony. His knowledge of him was 
derived from a liking for one of his sisters, very dear to Charles Lamb 
as well as himself for her genius and goodness, though both had to be 
discerned through a most unprepossessing exterior and a nervousness 
looking like silliness. The introduction of her brother was the 
strangest accident. Writing to himself the other day she said her 
brother wanted a farm, but she as little expected in such a matter to 
be helped by him, as he to be asked by her. " Betham has probably 
. to learn farming," he ominously added, " and so far is less desirable 
* J than Hutchinson," This was of course disregarded, and Betham was 
* duly installed. Considerably more will be heard of him hereafter. 
Landor'a next letter was from Bath, and dated the 12th February, 
1812: — 

" After travelling through Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and Warwick- 
shire, where I passed several weeks with my mother, I went to superin- 
tend my workmen at Llanthony. Violent floods have carried away two 
bridges. I am engaged in building a third also, for the union of two farms, 
now under one tenant. I am rebuilding a house for Ch. Betham, and 
erecting a new one for a Gloucestershire man. Yesterday I returned to 
Bath, for the sake of meeting Mr. Thuillier, my wife's father. 

A few months later Southey pleasantly took up the strain of Bath, 
the friends interchanged their experiences of the famous city, and 
what they said of it has not yet lost its interest. 


" Will this find you in the Vale of Ewyas, or have you taken wing for 
Bath, which, in spite of thirty years' labor toward spoiling it, still remains 
the pleasantest city in the kingdom ? I remember it when it ended at the 
Crescent, and there was not a house on the Bath-wick side of the river. 
The longest walk in which I was ever indulged was to a cottage, — the cot- 
tage we called it, in a little orchard, a sweet sequestered spot at that time, — 
my ne plus ultra then, beyond which all was terra incognita. No doubt it 
is now overgrown with streets. But the only alteration which I cannot 
forgive is the abominable one of converting the South Parade into one skle 
of a square, and thus destroying the finest thing, perhaps the only thing, of 
its kind in the world. I have often walked upon that terrace by moon- 
light, after the play, my head full of the heroics which I 4iad been im- 
bibing, — and perhaps I am at this day the better for those moonlight 




" You remind me of Bath 1 if not a delightful, a most easy place. I can- 
not bear brick houses and wet pavements. A city without them is a city 
fit for men before the FalL But, alas, they fell before they built. The 
South Parade was always my residence in winter. Towards spring I 
removed into Pulteney Street, — or rather towards summer; for there 
were formerly as many nightingales in the garden,, and along the river op- 
posite the South Parade, as ever there were in the bowers of Schiraz. The 
situation is unparalleled in beauty, and is surely the warmest in England. 
I could get a walk into the country without crossing a street, which I hate. 
These advantages often kept me in Bath until the middle of June, and I 
always returned in the beginning of November. I wonder that your grave 
meditations were not disturbed there ; for as sure as ever there was moon- 
light, a train — not qualis per juga Cynthi exercet Diana choros — was 
r*.-ady to invite you. I always hated plays and playhouses, and in the nine 
first years I was only once at the Batn Theatre ; but if I had a very large 
fortune I would have one of my own, and give a company a thousand 
pounds to act once a week in the summer, for me and four or five more. I 
would have only the best actors and the best audiences, and I would have 
no comedies, — except Moliere's, for the ladies." 

What progress meanwhile was making in affairs at Llanthony, 
whether affecting Landor himself or his relations with the neighbor- 
ing gentry, should now be told. Southey's prediction that a wife 
would make the very Welshmen endurable had unfortunately not 
been realized. Matters went on so badly, that even when the bui Id- 
ling of his house was finished, and some rooms had become habitable, 
he simply from time to time occupied these, left the rest unfurnished, 
and never wholly quitted the tower. He never seems quite to have 
settled to the conviction that he should continue to occupy the place. 
"This blessed day," he wrote in August, 1812, " to use an expres- 
sion which people seldom use so emphatically, my masons have left 
me, after a job of three years. I live in my house merely to keep it 
dry, just as a man would live in a dog-kennel to guard his house. I 
hate and detest the very features of the country, so much vexation 
have I experienced in it. I wish to God 1 could exchange it for a 
house in Bath, or anywhere. Another man would not have the same 
causes for vexation. The people would not be his tenants. I never 
can be happy here, or comfortable, or at peace. Adieu. Melioribus 
utere fatis ! " He had also special causes of vexation at this exact 
date, of which the brief narrative contained in letters preserved 
among his papers may now be not unamusing. It will at least be 
full of character. 

Being a member of the grand jury of the* county of Monmouth, he 
had startled his colleagues at the summer assizes of 1812 by an 
unexampled departure from precedent. Accepting in their literal sig- 
nification the formal expressions in Mr. Baron Thompson's charge, he 
presented with his own hand into that of the judge a statement of 
alleged felony committed by one of the surveyors of taxes in the 


county. And this he did, as he further amazed the learned baron by- 
informing him, because his fellow-jurymen, whom with himself his 
lordship had adjured to lay before him whatever they might have 
heard of felony committed in the county, had in the particular case 
refused to perform that duty. 

At the same time (29th August, 1812) he wrote to the grand jury 
in their official character to acquaint them with what he had done. 
I substitute initials for names, though there is nothing now to give 
offence to any. 

il Gentlemen, — As one of the grand jury for the county of Monmouth, I 
have thought proper to give into the hands of Baron Thompson a state- 
ment of felony committed by J. P., surveyor of the taxes in that county. I 
understood that he was displaced from that office for neglect of duty, and 
since hear that he has been reinstated by the influence of Sir C. M. and Sir 
B. S. That he has on many occasions been guilty of vexatious surcharges 
is a matter of the most public notoriety ; and that he has met with coun- 
tenance and favor from certain men in power for something the very re- 
verse of surcharging is as much the subject of general belief. That the 
minds of the common people, which are too apt to be unquiet in these 
times of severe and almost intolerable taxation, may be relieved from the 
painful idea that they are paying up the deficiencies of the rich, is the in- 
tention and purport of my letter. I was informed (I am not certain 
whether it was officially), when I came into the county, that if I would 
invite Mr. P. to dinner, and send him occasionally some game, I should not 
find him troublesome ; that he surcharged Mr. B., of Caerleon, and offered 
to remove the surcharge for a dinner; that Major M. and Mr. J. of Lanarth 
for several years were not charged to near the same amount as he dis- 
covered they were liable to when hunger or resentment made him more 
keen; that Sir A. M., Sir R. S., Mr. L., of Landilo, and many other gentle- 
men in the neighborhood, have never been charged up to four parts in 5\e 
of the amount. These things it is impossible for me to ascertain ; but it is 
your duty to examine into them, and if I shall be found to mention the 
facts from light and frivolous report, I am subject to no small portion of 
just censure. I have heard it again and again, in the county and out of it ; 
and was myself surcharged while I was in Spain. Since my return I was 
surcharged again, to which no man in his senses would be liable knowingly ; 
and although half a year has elapsed, the surcharge has not been confirmed. 
A servant in my absence was twice seen riding an old coach horse of mine 
past use ; while I was at Bath my gamekeeper was said to have dogs of 
mine, which however were not mine ; and some other things were brought 
against me which I left totally to the management of my agent, as I did the 
whole of my entries, &c. For the present I think it more proper to lay 
this statement before you than before Parliament or the public ; because an 
open discussion would irritate the public at a period of such accumulated 
oppression and almost universal distress ; and because you will be equally 
able to quiet the minds of the suffering community by immediately institut- 
ing a strict inquiry, and by showing them that it is not they alone who are 
liable to surcharges, and that a surveyor is not readmitted to an office 
which he was dismissed from for neglecting, merely because he is favon»d 
by the rich and powerful, who are now not only the dispensers of but the 
gainers by this patronage. I have the honor to be, W. S. Laxdor." 


Some days passed, and no direction for inquiry being vouchsafed 
by the judge, Landor proceeded to write to that learned person him* 
self. He recounted what he had done, and why he had done it ; said 
he had never in the most trifling matter disputed or quarrelled with 
any of his colleagues on the grand jury ; named one of them as the 
magistrate who had given him the evidence on which the statement 
of felony was drawn up ; and asked if his lordship was prepared to 
screen these Monmouthshire gentlemen in- refusing inquiry against 
the demand of that member of their body who had shown its neces- 
sity ; " a man who never committed, or connived at, any base action, 
who never avenged an injury, who never accepted a favor at the ex- 
pense of independence ; and who, in everything that elevates the 
character or adorns the mind, would blush at descending to a com- 
parison with the first and wisest among them." Very lately, indeed, 
it was reported, his lordship had entertained the majority of the 
grand jury at dinner, when this matter had been the subject of con- 
versation 'j. and if he had really said to them, as alleged, in giving up 
the question to their wishes, we shall all go to the House of Lords to- 
gether, he had taken accurate measure of the character of his present 
correspondent. " I would indeed bring you all before the House of 
Lords if such a step were requisite ; but if I read your decision as 
clearly as you read mine, you will order the affair to be investigated, 
and you will consider it worth some deliberation whether felons 
should be servants of the king, or are proper supporters of his crown 
and dignity." 

The learned baron nevertheless, meaning nothing of the sort, pru- 
dently abstained from even answering the letter ; upon which Lan- 
dor wrote again to remind him that there was a time when the 
courtesies of life required that a letter should be answered, though 
written by an inferior in fortune or in learning. " Matters of even 
small importance had always their share of notice ; and somewhat 
was occasionally added that they might not repine at what they 
could not aspire to, and that the inequalities of fortune might be 
smoothened by her condescension. These things have been. Among 
the things that I should have fancied could never be, is a judge re- 
fusing to investigate a felony, when a grand juror, whom he had 
commanded to lay such matters before him, states the fact, and a 
magistrate brings the evidence. I acknowledge my error and must 
atoue for my presumption. But I really thought your lordship was 
in earnest, seeing you, as I did, in the robes of justice, and hearing 
you speak in the name and with the authority of the laws." And so 
ended the matter, as indeed it could not help ending ; Landor being 
not so much wrong as wrong-headed, and preferring to lose what he 
wanted rather than fail to overturn all common law and usage in 
getting it. 

The transaction was in truth not so foolish as it looks. The object 
°f Landor's wrath was an electioneering attorney whom everybody 


believed to be a rascal, but some had found convenient to their pur- 
poses, others did not like to meddle with, and Landor alone was for 
exposing at all hazards. The thing in its way was quite as chival- 
rous as anything in the page of Cervantes, and to many, perhaps, 
will seem not much less absurd ; but that at least one Monmouth- 
shire magistrate, a clergyman and a man of education and refine- 
ment, thought Landor right and unselfish in moving in the matter, I 
learn from the letters of Mr. Davies of Court-y-Gollen. They are 
besides very pleasing evidence of the terms on which the lord of 
Llanthony remained with one of the most intelligent of the resident 
gentry as long as he lived in the county. The families exchange 
visits, and more substantial courtesies. Mr. Davies overflows with 
thanks for a Rembrandt Landor has given him, and sends him back 
no end of poplars and other trees. They stock each other's ponds 
and gardens with fish and fruit, discuss amicably Cuyps and Claudes, 
and do not quarrel even over politics. Mr. Davies is for an influence 
in the county adverse to the Beauforts, " or we shall be lost " ; being 
appealed to in one of Landor's disputes with his tenantry, he decides 
in his favor, but not without shrewd advice as to points of temper ; 
and he is one of the two magistrates long afterwards referred to in 
the imaginary conversation with a Florentine visitor, where Landor, 
speaking in his own person, says : " In the county where my chief 
estate lies, a waste and unprofitable one, but the third I believe in 
extent of any there, it was represented to me that the people were 
the most lawless in Great Britain ; and the two most enlightened 
among the magistrates wished and exhorted me to become one." * 

He made the application accordingly ; and I am able to relate 
from his papers what followed its rejection. The time for making it 
must be admitted to have been ill-chosen ; his letter to the lord-lieu- 
tenant bearing date in the same month when he had written to the 
grand jury, the foreman of whom was the lord-lieutenant's brother. 
This was hardly an excuse, however, for the dryness of the duke's 

" Badminster, Aujrust 28, 1812. Sir, I beg leave to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter, and to express my regret that at present it is not in 

* Works, I. 326. The result is thus described : " It would have been a great hin- 

drance to my studies; yet a sense of public good, and a desire to promote it by any 

"propose the thing to the Duke of Beaufort, the lord-lieutenant 
He could hnve heard nothing more of me, good or evil, than that I was a studious man, 

sacrifice, induced me topropose the 

and that, although I belonged to no society, club, or party, and never sat in my life at 
a public dinner, I should oppose his family in elections. The information, however 
probable, was wrong. I had votes in four counties, and could influence fifty or sixty, 
and perhaps many more : yet I never did or will influence one in any case, nor ever 
give one while Representation is either cheat or coaxer. The noble duke declined my 
proposal." In the same dialogue he makes these further personal allusions: "Hall 
avarice or ambition guided me, remember that I started with a larger hereditary estate 
than those of Pitt, Fox, Canning, and twentv more such amounted to: and not scraped 
together in this, or the last, or the preceding century, in ages of stockjobbing and 
peculation, of cabinet-adventure ana counterfeit nobility. My education, ana that 
which education works upon or produces, was not below theirs; vet certain I am 
that, if I had applied to be made a tide-waiter on the Thames, the minister would have 
refused me." 


my power to comply with your request I am, sir, your most humble ser- 
vant, Beaufort." 

Landor's rejoinder, written on the 2d of September, was not with- 
out dignity. Since it was not his grace's pleasure, he wrote, to nomi- 
nate him on the commission of the peace, he requested that the duke 
▼ould have the goodness to appoint some other person of more infor- 
mation and of more independence ; " qualities which ho one can 
better appreciate, and which are so abundant in all parts of the 
county, particularly the magistracy." It was absolutely requisite, he 
added, that some justice of the peace should reside within ten miles 
of Llanthony parish, in which, for want of one, every sort of misde- 
meanor was almost daily committed with impunity; and he now 
made that request not only as a compliment usually paid the lord- 
lieutenant, but to avoid any appearance of discourtesy in applying 
directly to the chancellor. 

The duke made no reply : a circumstance he probably regretted 
when, after a very few days, the subjoined communication reached 
him, and, as well from its contents as from the papers transmitted with 
it, he knew better the kind of man he had treated with discour- 

" Mr. Landor begs leave to enclose some testimonies of his fitness for the 
office which, in furtherance of the public good, he was willing and desirous 
to undertake. When the lord-lieutenant sees them coming from persons of 
experience and virtue, it is much to be hoped that he will approach ono 
step towards wisdom by taking some advantage of theirs. By generous and 
elevated minds many deficiencies are overlooked on a little relaxation of 
arrogance, and many follies are pardoned for retracting one. This observa- 
tion is made by Mr. Landor in the same spirit of pure benevolence as con- 
stantly and zealously animates him in the guidance of weaker intellects, 
which are always in the more danger the nigher the station is ; and he 
entreats that it may not be considered as a reflection, much less as a 
reproach. He has been given to understand tl^at the Duke of Beaufort acts 
honestly according to his ideas of honesty, wisely according to his ideas of 
wisdom, and independently according to his ideas of independence ; and it 
would be ungenerous to try him by any other standard. Never will Mr. 
Landor be induced to believe that a person invested with authority (which, 
however, as a stronger safeguard against revolutionary principles, is more 
often conferred on rank than on information, and on subservience than on 
integrity) would, for the indulgence of an irrational prejudice, or the gratifi- 
cation of an unmanly resentment, render himself an object of detestation to 
the honest or of ridicule to the wise." 

Landor followed this up by a letter of nearly the same date to the 
chancellor, in which he stated the urgent grounds that existed for the 
appointment of a justice of peace in the neighborhood. There was 
not one within ten miles, and several parts of the parish were thir- 
teen miles from one. As a consequence thefts and every kind of 
misdemeanor were committed almost daily, and always with impu- 
nity. For men were unwilling to leave their little farms, cultivated 


by their own personal labor, to take offenders a whole day's journey 
over mountains so wild and perilous; and were no less afraid of 
returning to their homes than reluctant at leaving them on such a 
business. He had mentioned these facts to the lord-lieutenant, and 
had taken the trouble also of drawing the inferences for him ; but 
they were probably not understood. The office of a magistrate 
would of course be a troublesome one to a man of retirement and 
letters, if it was not presumptuous to call himself so; yet he was 
willing to have undertaken it. The Duke of Beaufort, however, 
thought him unfit, and he was quite content to submit to the deci- 
sion of a person whose family had always been so remarkable for its 
discernment. His grace's inducement or motive he had not himself 
asked, this being an inquiry of a by no means philosophical cast ; but 
it was right the chancellor should know the rumor prevalent in the 
county that the lord-lieutenant's principal reason " which it was fore- 
told me would operate as it has done, is that I preferred a charge of 
felony against an attorney who is said to have been very serviceable 
in elections. In doing so, I conceive I did my duty as a grand jury- 
man. The chairman, Lord Arthur, thought otherwise : the rest fol- 
lowed." The letter closed with a waiver of his own claims in favor 
of any more suitable person, and with a reiteration that the appoint- 
ment was necessary. 

The chancellor made no reply. It is difficult now to believe possi- 
ble, what could then be done, or omitted to be done, with per- 
fect impunity. As Sydney Smith says of the time comprised in the 
first quarter of the century when this particular chancellor and his 
court pressed so heavily on mankind, it was an awful time for liberal 
opinions and for all who had the misfortune to entertain them. A 
man raising his voice against a Tory lord-lieutenant was a man crying 
out in a desert, with about equal chances of reply ; but Lander did 
not therefore abate his voice, and happily we may hear it still. He 
wrote another letter, which I think myself fortunate to have found, 
because its interest rises above the occasion of it, and gives it value in 
a higher sense. It tells us what in favorable circumstances he pro- 
posed to have done at Llanthony, and what, in circu m stances less 
happy, he did ; and so much as it eloquently and quite truly claims 
of unselfishness of intention and worthiness of design .may stand 
hereafter not unfairly against some serious faults and failures of exe- 
cution. It is a masterly apology, if not a complete defence, and will 
soften if it does not arrest judgment Its date is Octqber, 1812. 


" My Lord, — It would ill become me to complain in public or private that 
your lordship has not noticed my letter. My letter was such indeed as auy 
common person might have written, but the business was not a common, 
nor a private, nor an unimportant one. I requested that a justice of the 
peace might be nominated by your lordship in the district where I live. I 


gave my reasons for the necessity of the thing itself, and of applying to you 
for its accomplishment The lord-lieutenant had declined it I never was 
anxious to obtrude myself on the notice of the great or of the public ; but 
tliia affair is one in which the community is much interested. The choice 
of justices and their conduct are perhaps of greater importance than any 
things now remaining of the English constitution. I thought myself quali- 
fied. I have constantly endeavored from my earliest youth to acquire and 
disseminate knowledge. My property in the county is little short of £ 3,000 
a year, and capable of improvement to more than double that amount. I 
have estates in other counties, both in possession and in reversion. I Jiave 
planted more than 70,000 oaks, and 300,000 other forest trees ; and I shall 
not leave off until I have planted one million. Fifteen thousand acres of 
land will allow room enough for their growth. Yet I have sought no medal 
or notoriety, and the mention of it is now extorted from me to prove that in 
one instance I have not without success attempted to benefit the county. 
I have at my own expense done more service to the roads in a couple of 
years than all the nobility and gentlemen around me have done since the 
Conquest ; and I stated my desire of being in the commission of the peace 
to arise from the power it would afford me, at the sessions, of presenting 
what are still impassable, and of repressing those lawless acts which are 
committed in all countries where, from similar impediments, there is little 
intercourse with mankind. When the Duke of Beaufort thought proper to 
decline my offer, I wrote again to him with perfect temper, and requested 
him to appoint one better qualified. He had no reply to make. It may 
indeed justly be said of me, if anything shall be said, Serit arbores quce 
aUeri taeculo prosint ; and what honor it will confer on the lord-lieutenant 
t> have rejected the public and gratuitous services of such a man is worth 
his consideration rather than mine. It certainly will bestow on him a more 
lasting celebrity than any other Duke of Beaufort has acquired. I did not 
believe him to have been so ambitious. But if it should appear that any 
lord-lieutenant has erred in pursuing fame by a track so unfrequented and 
so cheerless, your lordship at least has the power of preventing the ill conse- 
quences which would arise from his stupid precipitancy or his unruly pas- 
sion. You will not countenance irrational prejudice, will never support 
unmanly resentment, will never sanction dishonorable patronage. It is 
possible that a lord-lieutenant may have been instructed in little else than 
in the worming of hounds, the entrapping of polecats, the baiting or worry- 
ing of badgers and foxes ; that he may be a perverse, and ignorant, and 
imbecile man ; that he may be the passive ana transferable tool of every 
successive administration ; and that he may consider all whose occupations 
are more becoming, the gentleman and the scholar who is wiser or more 
independent than himself, as a standing and living reproach. In this case, 
which I entreat your lordship to consider as merely an hypothetical one. 
would not you oe anxious to superintend him a little, and even to control 
him in the choice of those magistrates on whose information and on whose 
integrity the basis of English jurisprudence must repose ? If, for instance, 
he should reject from the bench of justices a person who, in estate, under- 
standing, quiet political demeanor, and sound constitutional principles, is 
rather more than on a level with the generality of them, and for no other 
reason than because this person, pursuant to a charge from the judge of 
assize, gave information of a felony committed by a partisan of that lord- 
lieutenant, would not you cry out against such an abuse of power, such a 
prostitution of honor, such* a violation of eauity, such a mockery of the judge, 
such a scandal and impediment and subversion of the laws ? This case also, for 


210 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLANTHONY. **!££- ™' 

obvious reasons, must be hypothetical : but the answer may be direct, to the 
person and to the point. I never now will accept, my lord, anything whatever 
that can be given by ministers or by chancellors, not even the dignity of a 
country justice, the only honor or office I ever have solicited. In truth it -was 
the only one fit for me. I cannot boast that high cultivation of mind, that 
knowledge of foreign nations, that intercourse with men who have estab- 
lished and men who have subverted empires, that insight into human nature, 
that investigation and development of the causes why Europe has diverged 
from the same (original) state of society into such variations of civic polity ; 
in short, those travels abroad and those studies at home which have adapted 
the great statesmen of the day for the duties they so ably and disinterestedly 
fulfil. Yet somewhat of all these things have fallen within my reach and 
exercised my moderate powers of mind. Demosthenes and PoLYBirs, Livr 
and Tacitus, Machiavelli, Davila, Gravina, Beccaria, De Thou and Mon- 
tesquieu, Milton and Sydney and Harrington and Locke, may console me 
for the downfall of my hopes from that bright eminence to which none of 
them, in these times and in this country, would have attained ; and for 
which my pursuits equally disqualify me. Here I have only occupied my 
hours with what lie beneath the notice of statesmen and governors : in pur- 
suing, with fresh alacrity, the improvement of public roads, of which all eady 
I have completed at my own expense more than a distance of seven miles 
over mountains and precipices, and have made them better and much wider 
than the turnpike roads throughout the country ; in relieving the wants and 
removing the ignorance of the poor; and in- repressing, by personal influ- 
ence rather than judicial severity, the excesses to which misery and idleness 
give rise. These things appear of little consequence to the rich and prosper- 
ous, but they are the causes why the rich and prosperous cease to be so ; 
and if we refuse to look at them now in the same point of view as humanity 
and religion see them in, they will have to be looked at hereafter from a 
position not only incompatible with leisure and quiet, but far too close for 
safety. I am, my lord, Walter Savage Landor, 1 ' 

With this, and a poetical epistle in the same month to Southey, 
the subject was dismissed, and he troubled duke and chancellor no 
more. Through the verses, perhaps more than through his graver 
protests, his bile had completely discharged itself; and for a better 
reason also than this the reader will thank me for subjoining some of 
them. They were the first important example of a kind of writing he 
was afterwards very fond of, and showed much mastery in: the 
rhymed verses which in Swift's time were called " occasional," but for 
which we now borrow an epithet from the French. Swift himself 
hardly threw them off more successfully than Landor^ For it is the 
consummate art of such writing to seem infinitely easier than it is, 
and commonplace professors of it are slipshod when they ought to be 
easy. It should condescend without condescending, combine the 
most perfect finish with an apparent carelessness of rhyming, and to 
the utmost terseness of language give the tone of mere conversation.* 
And hence it is that the finest examples of it are often found in men 
who have also written poetry of the highest order. 

* What other higher qualities it mny be enriched by, I have expressed in my Life of 
Goldsmith, who wrote it as well as any man. 


The opening couplet in the letter to Southey was taken from 

" Laugh, honest Southey ! prithee, come 
With every laugh thou hast at home; 
But leave there Virtue, lest she sneer 
At one 4 most noble * British peer, 
Who ties fresh tags upon his ermine 
By crying * ay/ and catching vermin. 
Terror of those, but most the foe 
Of all who think, and all jvho know. . . . 
' Such characters,' methinks you say, 
' We meet by hundreds every day; 
And common dolts and common slaves, 
Distinguished but by stars or staves, 
Should glitter and go out, exempt 
From all but common men's contempt. . . . 
Ribbons and garters, these are things 
Often by ministers and kings, 
Not over-wise nor over-nicej 
Conferred on folly and on vice. 
How wide the difference, let them Bee, 
'Twixt these and immortality ! ' 
Yes, oftentimes imperial Seine 
Has listened to my early strain. 
Beyond the Rhine, beyond the Rhone, 
My Latian Muse is heard and known. 
On Tiber's bank, in Arno's shade, 
I wooed and won the classic maid. 
• When Spain from base oppression rose, 

I foremost rushed amidst ner foes: 
Gallic ia's hardy band I led, 
Inspirited, and clothed, and fed. 
Homeward I turn : o'er Hatteril's rocks 
I see my trees, I hear my flocks. 
Where alders mourned their fruitless bed, 
Ten thousand cedars raise their head; 
And from Segovia's hills remote 
My sheep enrich my neighbor's cote. 
The wide and easy road 7 lead 
Where never paced the harnessed steed; 
Where scarcely dared the goat look down 
Beneath the fearful mountain's frown, 
Suspended, while the torrent's spray 
Springs o'er the crags that roll away. 
But Envy's steps too soon pursue 
The man who nazards schemes so new; 
Who, better fit for Rome and Greece, 
Thinks to be — justice of the peace J 
A Beaufort's timely care prevents 
These wild and desperate intents. 
His grandsons, take my word, shall show for 't 
This my receipt in full to Beaufort." * 

* Some of these lines he printed with variations in his Dry Stich, having already 
admitted them, with erasure of every reference to the duke or the magistrates, into one 
of his published poems ( Works, II. 685, 686), from which I borrow these additional 
verses: — 

" Llanthony ! an ungenial clime 
And the broad wing of restless Time 
Have rudely swept thy massy walls 
And rockt thy abbots in their palls. 
I loved thee by thy streams of yore, 
By distant streams I love thee more; 
For never is the heart so true 


But though the affair was thus finally dismissed, it would be diffi- 
cult to overstate its effect on his temper while it lasted. He had 
made up his mind even to quit England altogether, and become a 
citizen of France. He would live in some French town in retirement 
on half his income, and give up the other half to a trustworthy agent 
who should employ it exclusively in improving his English estates. 
I gather the details of this notable scheme from the letter which rea- 
soned and shamed him out of it: a wise and kindly letter of his 
brother Robert's, who had forgotten it and the occasion of writing it, 
but whose permission I have obtained to insert it here. Dating so 
Jong since, it is identical in tone and temper with those that have en- 
riched this memoir, and even as Mr. Landor writes of his brother now 
he was writing to that brother himself fifty -five years ago. It is dated 
from Dawlish in August, 1812. 

" Dear Walter, — At the very time that I most assuredly expected to find 
that you were % become exactly like other people, that you had been melted 
down, in the matrimonial crucible, to the same common shape and quality 
with other mortal men, you turn out a stranger fellow than ever ! If you 
will listen patiently to me, I will modestly undertake to prove that you are 
wrong in every respect First, to think of going into France when 
there is a peace. Supposing that a peace be possible, — which it is not 
while Bonaparte lives and this country remains unconquered, — who 
would voluntarily become the subject of such a tyrant? Who would 
sacrifice the right — whether he uses it or not — of speaking what he 
thinks ? For my own part if I were certain that I should never feel the 
slightest inclination to speak or write on political matters again, if I were 
certain of being protected and well treated, I would rather live as a day- 
laborer in England than as a prince in France. I should feel that in choos- 
ing to live under an absolute government, I voluntarily relinquished honor 
and liberty, that I went out of my way to seek a master, and to look for 
servitude. It is in vain to say that a man is not oppressed till he feels the 
oppression. I think with Johnson that ninety-nine men out of a hundred 
might live as free from any actual tyranny in Turkey as in England ; but 
the knowledge that we are subject to tyranny, that we are liable to caprice, 
that we must abstain from such and such particular topics, is the torment 
To see others oppressed without daring to expostulate, in fact to be indebted 
to the forbearance of any absolute authority, is degrading. It may be said 
that people are wronged and oppressed even in England sometimes, and 
that they can obtain no redress ; but that will not apply. No government 
can hinder some injuries ; but the constitution does not authorize them ; and 
the laws, however administered, are in themselves just Consequently 
there may be wrong, but there is no degradation. You say that a proof is 

As bidding what we love adieu. 

Yet neither where we first drew breath, 

Nor where our fathers sleep in death, 

Nor where the mystic ring was given, 

The link from earth that reaches heaven, 

Nor London, Paris, Florence, Rome. 

In his own heart's the wise man's home! 

Stored with each keener, kinder sense, 

Too firm, too lofty for offence, 

Unlittered by the tools of state, 

And greater than the great world's great. 1 ' 


wanting that no personal desire f>f gain has influenced your actions. This 
implies some deference to opinion. Now, what would not only your ene- 
mies but even your friends say, if you settled either in France or in any 
other country under French influence ? The latter would say that ' this 
apostle of liberty, who passed so much of his life in praising it, who not 
only talked of it and wrote for it> but who gave his money and risked his 
person to defend it, he has left his connections, his property, his country, 
and has chosen to live under the most arbitrary government in Europe/ 
Tour enemies would point you out as an example to prove that extremities 
often meet, and that what they call Jacobinism is closely allied to Tyranny. 
I do not say this to dissuade you from going into France and settling there, 
because I know that you will never be able ; because the war can never 
terminate till either this government or the French government is over- 
thrown ; but to dissuade you from entertaining, and still more from disclos- 
ing, a wish which many men who hate your character and envy your 
understanding will otherwise exult at No, sir, everything, so far, can be 
explained by the love of liberty. You will never do, or on consideration 
wish to do, what you talk o£ As for the determination to give up society, 
and to spend the best half of your income in improving your estate, that 
I think also wrong. Why not enjoy yourself now ? Why look so far for- 
ward, and that for those who at present are not in existence ? It is making 
money of too much consequence, and time of too little. You will leave as 
good a fortune as you received, without anxiety or deprivation. Instead of 
shutting myself up at Llanthony, I would take a pleasant house in a good 
neighborhood, and live, after setting apart a quarter of my income for re- 
pairs, on the remainder. A man, and particularly a married man, risks 
everything by determining on solitude. Solitude influences the temper in 
one year more than society can in twenty. It creates habits and feelings 
the most dangerous, particularly to a warm and sensitive character. The 
melancholy man becomes infinitely more melancholy, and the proud man 
more proud. That which was at first a rill becomes a torrent There is no 
resistance, no hope. I am both melancholy and proud, and I dread soli- 
tude. The more I observe, the more I am convinced that everything in life 
which is singular is dangerous. You have now the happiness of others to 
consider ; so take the safest road, which is the commonest I have a right 
to talk to you in this way because you mention your schemes, and because 
I am vested with authority to teach and preach, though the hearers may be 
wiser and better than myself. I had much to say about books, but my 
paper is filled and my beef is growing cold. Let me hear from you at Daw- 
lish, where I shall continue this month. I have been told that notwith- 
standing your indifference " [in marrying] " about everything else besides 
good temper, you have contrived to get a great many other qualities into 
the bargain. Yours affectionately, Robert Eyres Landor." 

Landor acquiesced and submitted But it is to be added, quite 
apart from any question of individual complaint, that his opinion of 
the way in which affairs were at this time administered in England 
differed materially from his younger brother's ; and that what he has 
been writing on that special subject to Southey * during the past two 
years is consistently the tone of all his letters, and has upon it the 
impress of very strong convictions unwarned by personal irritation or 
wrong. The reader will perhaps not be sorry to have some of these 

* See ante, p. 145. 


opinions laid before him. Originality syid interest always, very fre- 
quently great worth and value, constitute a claim to preservation 
even apart from their striking illustrations of character. 


Southey's connection with Scott's scheme of the Edinburgh Register, 
for which he had undertaken to supply the history of each year as 
Burke did for Dodsley's, led to occasional interchange between the 
friends on the political questions of the day more frank and outspoken 
than his Quarterly lucubrations at any time afforded. In the Review 
he was never able quite to unmuzzle himself, and it is curious to observe 
how ill from the first he and Gifford got on together both in politics 
and literature. As for the notice he wrote of Count Julian for the 
Quarterly, and by which he hoped to have given Landor satisfaction, 
Gifford had so completely knocked its brains out before publication 
that no subsequent mention of it, to Landor or any one else, was ever 
made by the writer. 

Sending his friend in the summer of 1810 the first volume of his 
Edinburgh history, he tells him of the second he is already working 
at ; inquires as to places visited by Landor in Spain, of which he 
wishes to give good descriptions ; and, declaring his opinion that that 
country is not to be subdued, says he means to burst out upon the 
subject on all fit occasions. The French emperor, he believes, will 
find the grave of his power in the Peninsula ; and he takes pride in 
the opportunity this history-writing for the Register is giving him, to 
denounce all incapable half-hearted contemporaries, and to " speak of 
Bonaparte as befits a republican." * Not backward of course is Lan- 
dor's sympathy here ; and finding his friend's history much to his 
liking, he praises loudly its manliness and spirit.f 

The next prominent subject in their letters is Southey's increasing 
work for the Quarterly, with which his grumbling at the editor con- 
tinues to keep pace ; but he has good hope that he will not meddle 
with a forthcoming article on Methodism which he has written in re- 
ply to Sydney Smith's in the Edinburgh, and which he shall follow up 
in the number following with a mortal blow at Malthus, the especial/ 
object of his contempt and abhorrence. Then, after several months!! 
while yet he is in pains of labor with his second product of history! 

• Another passage in this letter (suppressed in the printed copy, Letter*, 11.208) 
savs that he gets £ 400 a year from this undertaking of Scott and the Ballantynes, and 
that he has vested £ 209 of his first year's payment in a twelfth share of the concern, 
which is to bring him in forty per cent. Poor Landor himself could not have taken a 
simpler or more sanguine view of the transaction. Alas! we And Southey soon in 
trouhle arising from this over-confident calculation, and glad to put o£f further respon- 
sibility bv sacrificing all he had invested. 

t One exception only he makes, in highly characteristic phrase. Why should 
Southev have thrown so romantic a cast over the valor of a certain general, * l as great 
a rascal n« anv of his family, which has been rascally for many generations " ? He 
was a Welshman. *, 

-ET. 30-39-I PUBLIC AFFAIRS. 215 

for the Register, his article on Methodism has appeared and given 
such delight to Perceval that Sou they feels he has lost a rich benefice 
by not going into the church.* There are, however, subjects less 
pleasant. Had Landor seen Jeffrey's criticism on Kchama, as original 
as the poem and altogether matchless for impertinence 1 And had 
he not, seeing what the Portuguese had just done (it is now May, 
1811), repented of his unkind words about them in his letters to 
Riguelme? Characteristic in every point was Landor's reply, in 
which the reader will not now care to criticise closely words out of 
which the heat and venom have long since departed. Jeffrey himself 
gave hard words in those days, and was prepared to receive them ; 
but, though a greatly overrated literary critic, he was a man of prodi- 
gious ability in various ways, of an unequalled quickness and keen- 
ness of intellect, and with a power of inspiring attachment possessed 
only by sincere fine natures. 

" I was shamefully wrong in speaking as I did of the Portuguese, and I 
an very glad they have acquitted themselves, and punished me, in the" 
manner they have done. Men are brave until bad governments have made 
them forget the use of bravery. Then the very breed degenerates for want 
of action. Look at the Chinese for an example. 

44 Your review of Methodism is admirable. It is impossible to mistake 
the author. This is not my observation : it is Mrs. Carrick's. 

44 Jeffrey is called a clever man, I hear. If so, people may be clever men 
without knowing the nature of a lie, or the distinction between virtue and 
n^e. No species of dishonesty is surely so unpardonable as Jeffrey's, no 
profligacy so flagitious. Thievery may arise from early example or from 
urgent want. It may have grown into an incurable habit, or have been 
pvhed on by the necessities of nature. A man may commit even murder 
ite>lf from the sudden and incontrollable impulse of a heart still uncorrupted ; 
bu. he must possess one of a very different kind who can air and exercise 
hi* faculties on no other ground than the destruction of fame and the mor- 
tification of genius. I was once asked whether I would be introduced to 
tht gentleman. My reply was, No, nor to any other rascal whatsoever. I 
liki to speak plainly, and particularly so when the person of whom I speak 
ma; profit by it." 

That was in May, 1811 ; and Jeffrey, if he could have read it and 
the letter which followed it in July, would doubtless have smiled at 
the worshipful society of rascals in which he found himself. Landor 
*ai then expecting his friend at Llanthony, and after telling him of 
the copy of Drayton's Polyolbion he had bought at Rugby, f thus 
oortinues : — 

• ThU I need hardly say was Sonthey's destination originally, If he had found him- 
self able to accept the Articles. I possess a curious little note of Coleridge's to Cottle 
in ?96, consisting simply of these words: '* Dear Cottle, I congratulate Virtue and 
Wfriends that Robert Southey has relinquished all intentions of taking Orders He 
lejres our party, however, and means, he thinks, to study the law. Yours, S. T. Cole- 
bdue.** " Our party " was the Pantisocratic expedition. 

* S«o ante, p. 18. He cannot tell how to direct that letter, M and the worst is, T never 
*» right in my life if I hesitated. 1 ' Alas ! it was his habit of not hesitating ofMner, 
aH reflecting more, that led him into all kinds of intemperances of act as well as 



" What a series of fools and scoundrels hare managed this country ! 

Surely such fellows as Pitt and Fox should never have gone further than 
the vestry-room. A parish workhouse had been too much for their manage- 
ment, and they have been making a national one 1 " 

It must at the same time be admitted that this sort of thing was 
more harmless than Southey's occasional outbreaks. A few months 
later there is a letter of his, a strange medley of shrewdness and 
violence, criticising affairs in Spain, hopeful of Wellington, giving 
Bonaparte a lease of less than seven years, confident of seeing a 
peace dictated under the walls of Paris, and condemning the Spanish 
soldier Blake as a general, which ends by his declaring it humiliating 
that Spain should have produced two centuries ago half a dozen men 
resolute in a mistaken cause to slay the Prince of Orange at the sac- 
rifice of their own lives, " and that now she has not found one to aim 
a dagger at the heart of Bonaparte ! " Southey was more scrupulous 
than his friend as to flinging about reckless epithets ; but where he 
felt very strongly, the flame of his anger burnt with a fiercer as well 
as a more intense glow. 

Replying at the opening of 1812 from Bath, whither he had gone 
to meet his wife's father, Landor says : — 

" Mr. Thuillier has just left Cadiz. He represents the government ai 
fools and traitors, every individual intent on making his fortune. It grievei 
me to hear that Blake also was accused of the same unworthy propensity, 
and that not a doubt was entertained that all his principal officers wen 
latterly in the French interest Zayas is not exempt Mr. Thuillier know 
many members both of the government now existing and of the last A U tie 
old ones hold office under the present, in one form or other. It certaintr 
was intended to sacrifice the English at Barrosa, where be also was, aid 
where that silly fellow Whittington was acting under La Pena. Had le 
marched with two thousand men under his command, the French migit 
easily have been cut off from their retreat, for retreat they most certainy 
did. It is terrible to think that, such is the state of Europe, no nation c*n 
go on tolerably well without an usurper. France would nave fallen win- 
out Bonaparte. If Palafox had retired from Zaragoza, he might ha*e 
rescued Spain. The world is ruined by stupidity, and not by knavery or 
cruelty. I heard it reported, for I never read any newspaper or new bock, 
that Lord Cochrane is appointed to a command of ten thousand men in 
Catalonia. This is so wise a thing that I cannot believe it He would lo 
more with ten thousand than any other English officer with thirty thousad. 
If he really has the appointment, I will lay a thousand guineas to thee 
farthings that the ministry act in such a manner as will force him to resign 
in six months. If I were unmarried, I would join him; and I think, win 
my fortune, I could show a way in which ten thousand men might lo 
greater things than these are destined for. Periculosae plenum opus ales. 
It would be easy with such means to draw round them twice as may 
Spaniards who would laugh at nation and party. In fact there is nota 

Government in Europe that might not be and should not be destroyei 
'he French is unquestionably the best, because it is in the hands of tb 
wisest ; as for virtue or vice, the shades of difference are utterly undi* 

* T - 3°-39«] PUBLIC AJFAIBS. # 217 


This was written a few months before bis scheme of finding a home 
for himself in France, so wisely rebuked by his brother Robert ; but 
it was not to his discredit at this time that while denouncing as 
loudly as Southey the misdeeds of Bonaparte, he recognized not only 
his genius, which the other never did, but, in the feet of his being 
by far the ablest of living Frenchmen, some sort of reason for putting 
him at the head of Franca There was small comfort of that kind 
to be got out of a survey of the existing English government, what- 
ever its other merits might be ; and if the genius for statesmanship 
possessed by Pitt and Fox were to be measured by the England they 
had left behind them, by ministerial purity, party fidelity, or national 
prosperity and honor, Landor had some excuse for pitching it so 
low. It was a time when disasters were certain and victories yet 
doubtful, and when the people were as unfairly restricted in their 
liberties as in their energies, industry, and enterprise. With the re- 
gency had begun the undisputed reign of the mediocrities, Mr. Per- 
ceval entering with the new year as Lords Grey and Grenville were 
finally bowed out ; and England had become chiefly famous for Wal- 
cheren defeats abroad, for machinery riots and bread riots at home, 
and for every kind of revolting variety of ex-officio informations and 
furious attacks on the press. So great was the misery about Llan- 
thony, Landor proceeds to say in his letter, that not only had his 
people ceased to be mischievous, but had even lost the spirit to exult 
in their landlord's losses and misfortunes. He puts the matter with 
a, whimsical sense of humor that we cannot but smile at still. 

" What think you of our detestable villains of the Howe t While the 
people are starving for want of food and employment^ those infamous 
scoundrels reject an act for the enclosure of waste lands. So the attorneys 
and the commissioners will eat up two thirds of the scanty allotments which 
would otherwise be the portion of the poor. If they suffer this, they will 
deserve their sufferings. Three pounds of miserable bread costs two shil- 
lings at Abergavenny. The poor barbarous creatures in my parish have 
actually ceased to be mischievous, they are so miserable. We can find them 
employment at present, and four-and-sixpence a day; yet nothing can 
solace them for their difficulty in procuring bread. All my hay is spoilt. 
This is always worth a day's meal to them, but it can happen only once in 
the season. The poor devils are much to be pitied, for they really look now 
as if they hardly enjoyed it It is their moulting time, and they cannot 

That letter was dated the 12th of February, and was crossed by a 
letter from Southey of two days earlier date, written in much alarm* 
" Trotter's book " was the life of Fox lately published by his secre- 
tary ; and with Mr. Murray, the reader will remember, Landor had 
been placed in communication by the printing of his tragedy. 

" About an hour ago came a parcel to me from Murray, containing among 
other things an unfinished commentary upon Trotter's book. Aut Landor, 
aut Diabolus. From the manner, from the force, from the vehemence, I 
concluded it must be yours, even before I fell upon the passage respect-. 


ing Spain, which proves that it was yours. I could not lie down this 
night with an easy conscience if I did not beseech you to suspend the pub- 
lication till you have cancelled some passages : that attack upon Fellowes 
might bring you into a court of justice ; and there are some others which 
would have the more painful effect of making you regret that you had 
written them. ... I have but looked inXo the leaves as I opened them, and 
wilh not delay this entreaty a single post : but to-morrow I will point out 
every passage which is likely to inflict undeserved pain upon others, and 
therefore to recoil upon yourself. It would equally grieve me to have the 
book supprest, or to have it appear as it is. It is yours and yours all over, 
— the non imitabile fulmen." 

On the 15th Landor replied, telling what the thing was, how it 
originated, and the objection Murray had himself made to a proposed 
dedication of it to the President of America, against whom England I 
was then on the eve of a declaration of war. This, the rejoinder of 
Southey, and the letters that followed, besides being highly charac- 
teristic, have a special value for the completeness of the description 
they give, not only of the Commentary, of which a few copies got 
into subsequent circulation as " Observations on Trotter's Life of 
Fox," * but of a suppressed companion tract called the Parallel, and / 
of the suppressed Dedication. All that Landor intended by them, 
the startling paradoxes put forth in them, the personal attacks they 
contained, and the strange combination throughout them of large- 
ness and wisdom of view with proposals worthy of Laputa and an 
absurd intemperance of expression, we see in these letters so vividly 
depicted that any further allusion or quotation will not be necessary. 

" Did I never mention that I was writing the Commentary ? In truth I 
seldom can tell whether I have communicated any thought br intention of 
mine, so that often I must appear the most barren of tautologists, and often 
more reserved than a Quaker or a Jesuit How egregiously mistaken are 
those who judge of people by their letters, or indeed by anything they 
write I Not twenty men know that Addison and Pope abounded in the 
worst basenesses, or that Swift was anything better than a satirist and mis- 

" I will do precisely as you recommend, and request you particularly to 
mention such other passages as should be cancelled. If there is any elo- 
quence in the Commentary, I will give you the reason. I was determined 
to try whether an oration could not be written more like what the Athe- 
nians were accustomed to commend than any such speeches as we have 
heard in Parliament, or than any which were delivered in the French 
Academy. I first apologized for praising the living instead of the dead, and 

• A reference to this Is in one of the letters of an old country gentleman of Stafford- 
shire, Mr. Whitby of Creswell, whose son, the captain of the 'frigate Cerberus, which 
formed part of the squadron in the Adriatic, was hero of one of the most daring indi- 
vidual exploits in the war, often referred to in exalted strain by Landor. Returning 
thanks for a copy of Count Julian, which Murray had just published, Mr. Whitby tells 
its author that his brother, the rector of Col ton, had called and told him of the publica- 
tion of some Observations on Trotter's Life of Fox, which he was extremely anxious to 
see, because with no one upon politics did he bo entirely agree as with Landor, and his 
independence of all party. In another letter he tells him he has read the Observations, 
and found them filled to overflowing with original and bold remark. 

-«T. 30-39.] PUBLIC AFFAIRS. % 219 

anraed that although some might pervert the practice, yet with others it 
would undoubtedly have the effect of preserving them from subserviency 
and corruption ; that, to give themselves the importance which they claimed 
on the assumption of such an office, they must preserve a perfect and most 
absolute independence, and cherish in their own hearts those virtues whose 
features they were desirous of transmitting to posterity. I praised Hast- 
ings, and drew a comparison between him and Fox ; but, said I, possibly 
this great ruler may have been deaf to the voice of misery and of justice. 
I drew a comparison also between Lord Peterboro' and Lord Wellington, 
in which I proved the latter to be equal to the other. In short, with refer- 
ence to the military administration, I preferred the present to every other 
in this reign except Lord Chatham's. But I asked myself what source of 
corruption these Percevals and people had cut off? What protection they 
had given to freedom or to literature ? 

" After all, who will read anything I write ? One enemy, an adept in 
bookery and reviewship, can without talents and without industry suppress 
in a great degree all my labors, as easily as a mischievous boy could crush 1 
with a roller a whole bed of crocuses. Yet I would not destroy what I had ( 
written. It filled indeed but eight or nine sheets, interlined, it is true, in a 
thousand places and everywhere close. I transferred, then, whatever I could 
conveniently, with some observations I had written on Trotter's silly book, 
and preserved nearly half, I think, by adopting this plan. 

" I am surprised that Murray should object to publish my dedication to 
the President of the United States. It is very temperate, and, I believe, 
not ineloquent. War is not declared ; and I earnestly point out the mis- 
chief it would do America, — how deplorable that freemen should contend 
with freemen, and diminish a number already so reduced I I never wrote 
anything better. % It contains the best sentences of my oration. I will 
desire Murray to send it you, together with a piece aimed at the attor- 
ney-general of Ireland, but not mentioning him, nor subject to the cogni- 
zance of even an attorney-general's law." 

In his allusions to America Landor had greatly the advantage of 
his friend, who had no indisposition to the war then imminent, was 
ready to give credit to any absurdity that might help to put a wider 
breach between us and our transatlantic kinsmen, and was as eager 
as many people since have been to believe in a disruption of the 
United Stites Republic as both desirable and likely. WTiat he says, 
on the other hand, of George Rose is not a bad comment on what 
Lord Shelburne is reported to have said to him, " Good God, Mr. 
Rose, why have you not more ambition ! " Rose had .been twenty 
years Pitt's secretary to the treasury, and was everybody's factotum 
in those days ; but we may easily understand Landor's slowness to 
recognize abilities of which only the most meagre memorials have 
even yet come to light, though he has been dead half a century. In 
the recent changes Rose had stuck to Perceval, in spite of all Can- 
ning's attempts to draw him off ; and his appointment as treasurer to 
the navy, with Croker for secretary, a selection he was supposed to 
have suggested but which in reality he very strongly disapproved, 
had greatly moved Landor's wrath. The whole of Southey's letter, 
which is dated February 21, 1812, is worth preserving; and among 


the personal bitternesses in the Commentary, the reader will not be 
unamused to see, Fellowes and Kett * had not been forgotten ! 

" I have re-read and re-re-read the Commentary. The dedication and 
the postcript- are so full of perilous matter that it will be difficult to weed 
them clean. And there is this objection to both, that they, far more than 
the Commentary itself, tend to produce that state of feeling which such 
wretches as Cobbett are continually laboring to excite and inflame for the 
worst purposes. We are suffering for the Anti-Jacobin war, — the sins of 
the fathers are visited upon the children, — now it seems as if you designed 
to represent that the sins were our own. That we are not in peace and 
abundance and security is the effect of that war, — this is unavoidable, and 
so are the expenses which it necessitates. 

" We rivet the chain in Sicily, and we do not break it in Portugal ; but 
certain it is that in Spain we have pressed upon the government the neces- 
sity of liberal measures and popular reform. . Towards the Spanish colonics 
this country has not acted ill; all that it could do was to endeavor to 
mediate. Those colonies offer a wretched prospect ; they are even more 
unfit for independence than the Americans were, who have become inde- 
pendent (by our fault most assuredly) a full century before they were of age. 
See what it is to have a nation to take its place among civilized states 
before it has either gentlemen or scholars I They have m the course of 
twenty years acquired a distinct national character for low and lying 
knavery ; and so well do they deserve it that no man ever had any dealings 
with them without having proofs of its truth. 

" There is now a probability that the damned junta of Cadiz wOl be 
crushed, and the colonial trade thrown open. I have no doubt that what 
you recommend America is looking to ; but I have as little doubt that it is 
under the direction of Bonaparte, who keeps the American* government in 
pay. They dream of conquering Canada on the one hand, and Mexico on 
the other ; and happy would Bonaparte be if he could see them doing his 
work. But the more probable consequences of that war with this country 
into which he is bribing them would be the separation of the Northern 
States, and the loss of New Orleans, which it would be our first business to 
secure, and thus seal up the produce of the whole Western territory. 

" You have plucked George Rose most unmercifully. Yet if I were 
asked what man in the House of Commons had done most good there, I 
should name this very hero, who, according to a song sung by his company 
of Christchurch volunteers to his praise, while he used to get drunk with 
them drinking alternately his own health and his wife's, is ' ft brave as 
Alexander.' The encouragmeat of the benefit societies, thepopulation and 
poor returns, and the naval schools, we owe to Gk Rose. He nas actually 
done more godd than the whole gang of reformers have even proposed to 
do. The worst I know or think or Canning is that he seems to be laying 
out for popularity by showing symptoms of falling in with that party whose 
economy is injustice, and who never hold out any nobler object to the 
people than that of saving pounds, shillings, and pence. 

" But I meant to confine myself merely to those passages which are either 
directly actionable, or which after a while you would yourself be sorry to \ 
have published. They are that about Croker, the recommendation to with- \ 
hold supplies, the mention of Lord^ Chatham and Lord Riverdale, of Fel- 
lowes and ELett and what is said of the Irish attorney-general About 
Irish affairs the English can never be made to take any strong interest I 

* See ante, pp. 85, 86; and pp. 67, 68. 

*T- 30-39.] PUBLIC AFFAIRS. 221' 

should retain your parallel of Wellington with Peterborough to substitute 
as appendix. It would do good : for the great good which is now to be 
done is to keep up the spirit of the country. Thank God, England is not 
upon her stumps like Witherington; but we must fight on till we bring 
France into that condition. 

** Yonr prose is as much your own as your poetry. There is a life and 
vigor in it to which I know no parallel It has the poignancy of cham- 
pagne, and the body of English October. Neither you nor Murray gave 
me any hint that the Commentary was yours, but I could not look into 
these pages without knowing that it could not be the work of any other 
man. God bless you. R. S." 

How much wiser, of how much more prophetic view and with what 
unmistakable earnestness expressed, are the striking passages having 
relation to America in Landor's rejoinder, dated ten days later ! 

" I perceive that Murray is disposed to suppress the Commentary ; 
whether for pay, or prejudice, or fear, I cannot teU. He did not advertise it 
in his catalogue as about to be published, though he received it in Decem- 
ber, and the date of the catalogue is February. 

" I never can be induced to believe that Madison is in the pay of Bona- 
parte, or that an American wants any pay to make him resent the indignities 
and privations he endures from our maritime laws. All parties are against us 
now. So tyrannical a system never existed ; nor one which would so certainly 
throw America into a confederacy with France. Why could we not have re- 
voked our orders in council, and left nothing to the French but her hatred and 
vengeance ? On the contrary, we resolve to seize American vessels so long 
as Napoleon perseveres in his system ; as if the Americans could alter it, as if 
they could hinder him from doing what he chooses to do on the Continent, 
or indeed had any right, if they could, provided he did renounce, which he 
has done publicly and effectually, all right to seize their property, even 
though searched by English ships, and even after many of their crews have 
been in English ports, and some on board of English ships of war. Which- 
ever power was inclined to relax first from its pretensions was certain of 
conciliating the Americans, and of directing all their animosities against the 
power that persevered in its injustice. Napoleon saw this, and his pride 
and hatred yielded to his policy. I pray fervently to God that no part of 
America may be desolated ; that her wildernesses may be the bowers and 
arbors of liberty ; that the present restrictions on her commerce may have 
no other effect than to destroy the cursed trafficking and tricking which 
debases the brood worse than felonies and larcenies ; and that nothing may 
divert their attention from their own immense neighborhood, or from the 
determination of helping to Bet free every town and village of their conti- 
nent ! To accomplish this end I would throw myself at the feet of Madison, 
and implore till I were hoarse with imploring him. I detest the American 
character as much as you do, and commerce as much as Bonaparte does ; 
but a civil war (and ours would be one) is so detestable a thing as never to 
be countenanced or pardoned, unless as the only means of bringing a fero^ 
cious and perfidious tyrant to public justice. Nothing can be more animat- 
ing than such a tiger-hunt as this, and even the peril itself is salutary. But 
the Americans speak our language; they read Paradise Lost; and their 
children, if fire«nd sword should not consume them, will indulge their mild 
and generous affections in Kehama. Surely there must be many still 
amongst them who retain, in all their purity, the principles that drove their 



ancestors from this country. In my opinion one such family is worth all the 
turbulent slaves and nobles in the wilds of Poland, and all the thoughtless 
heads that are devoted for Fernando Settimo. 

" I do believe with vou that Franklin formed the American character as 
we now see it ; but without him the people would never have been inde- 
pendent, at least not for many years. To destroy the power of one people 
over another is enough of itself to constitute a great man. I have heard, 
and give full credit to it, that an immense bribe was offered him by General 
Howe to use his influence in bringing back the people to merely their own 
proposals. I believe he sent the letter to Congress. 

" Whatever you do, do not despise Locke. Remember he refused a par- 
don, because acceptance of pardon would appear as an acknowledgment of 
{ruilt. It must be a glorious principle which could make a man resolve to 
live in Holland when he might live in England. There are some errors in 
his reasoning ; but he cleared away much lumber from philosophy, and his 
writings tend to promote the interests of genuine freedom and sound think- 

"lam heartily glad that the prince has shaken off Grey and broken up 
the Foxite pack ; but I could wish that Mr. Perceval would allow forty 
thousand Englishmen to fight for religion and loyalty in Spain, thougn 
neither the loyalty nor the religion is perfectly to my taste. The capitulation 
of Blake is detestable and most infamous. Twenty thousand could cut their 
way through any army on earth, provided that army was surrounding a 
vast city. But it appears that at first Suchet had not thirty thousand under 
him, so that the Spaniard* could bring against him in any one point a much 
greater force than he could oppose. After all, the most advantageous way 
would perhaps be to fight from the houses and squares, where cavalry could 
not act, and where women and children, by throwing tiles from the rootk 
would be as formidable as veterans. In Tarragona and Valencia, the Span- 
iards lost greatly more than two thirds of their effective force. Suchet in the 
m capture of these two places has done more against them than all the other 
" generals since the commencement of the war in the Peninsula. Bonaparte 
is the only general who has performed such signal exploits. I saw Carrol 
here (Bath). I believe he is now in London. I did not ask him what he 
came for ; yet I thought he would be more useful in Spain. He is an active 
and good officer, but should abstain from other views and projects." 

But before that letter was even posted Southey had been writing 
to confirm the suspicion with which it opened, that Mr. Murray had 
taken fright at the Commentary, and was anxious to be relieved from 
going on with it. Not having read it when he undertook its publi- 
cation, he has since been reading it in the proofs, and now finds that 
its remarks on Mr. Canning would put him in so painful a position 
that he has appealed to Southey to get him out of the scrape. 

" I have a letter this evening from Murray, which I would enclose to you 
if it were not for the time which would be lost in sending it round for a 
Jrank. The sum of it is that it would relieve his mind from some very nat- 
ural and very unpleasant feelings if you would allow him to procure another 
publisher for this Commentary, into whose hands he will deliver it ready for 
publication, and with whom he will settle for you. This is purely a matter 
of feeling and not of fear. He is, on the score of the Quarterly JRevieic, 
under obligations to Canning, and would on that account have refused to 
publish any personal attack upon him. The manuscript he never read, look- 

iCT.30-39] PUBLIC AFFAIRS. 223 

ing forward to the perusal of the book as a pleasure. What he wishes will 
be no inconvenience to you, and np doubt you will readily assent to it 'I 
confess,' he says, ' I hesitatingly propose this, for I fear even you could not 
now speak of this to the author in any way that would not offend him. I 
will, however, leave it entirely to you ; and if you say nothing about it, I 
will publish it without any further trouble to you or Mr. L., however pain- 
ful, from my peculiar situation, it will prove to me.' These are his words. 
For my own part I should feel any fear of giving offence as the only thing 
which could occasion it It is but for you to signify your assent to Murray 
in a single line, and the business is settled without any injury to any person's 
feelings. That it is purely a matter of feeling with him I verily believe. 
The not reading the manuscript was a compliment to the author, and a mark 
of contidence in him." 

Landor's reply deals not alone with the Commentary but with the 1 
Parallel (in which comparison of Wellington and Peterborough was / 
made), and is a wonderfully characteristic production. Its date is / 
March, 1812. "A plague on both your houses 1 " He is so disgusted V 
with both factions, that, by way of grinding both into the dust, he 
means to lay out five thousand (borrowed) pounds in establishing a 
printing press at Llanthony ! His other scheme of establishing 
Lord Wellington on the throne of Portugal one might suppose to 
have involved yet greater difficulty for so stanch a republican. But 
for the time no doubt he was hotly bent on both, and equally ready 
when the cool fit came to surrender either. Observe at the same 
time how large and just were his views on leading questions of civil 

" My Parallel lies unfinished. It covers a good number of sheets ; so many 
that I never shall have the heart to transcribe them ; for I write not only 
on sands, but on such sands as are exposed to storms and tempests from 
every quarter of the heavens. When you come to Llanthony, which I hope 
and entreat you will this summer, I will show you what I have done, and 
help you to read the manuscript I have lost one sheet or half-sheet, I can- 
not remember which ; but it grieved me at the time, because it contained 
some very labored passages. I believe I threw it into the fire, thinking I 
had transcribed it afresh, as I had done with another page or two. 

u My Commentary is condemned to eternal night I have just written to 
Murray. One sentence in my letter to him will explain the whole. 

" * Deceived or not deceived, the fault was not mine that you first under- 
took it yourself; that you next proposed to find another who would under- 
take it ; and that at last you relapsed even from this alternative. I am not 
surprised that, in these circumstances, you find some vexation. Had you, 
in the beginning, pointed out such passages as you considered dangerous to 
publish (although this very danger would have shown the necessity of 
them), I would have given them another appearance and stationed them in 
another place/ 

"I am convinced he has been persuaded, either by Canning or some 
other scoundrel whom I have piquetted in the work, to withdraw from the 
publication of it; although I have soaped all the bristles that could have 
heen clutched by the foul hand of our attorney-general 

11 At this time I am reading the Correspondence of Erasmus, 2,146 pages 1 \ 
How infinitely more freedom, as well as- more learning, was there in those \ 



days than in ours ! yet establishments of every kind were in much greater 
danger of innovation. 

"Two things are wanting. Perfect equality in all religionists as to their 
competency in civil employments, and an acknowledgment of the principle, 
ne quid falsi dicere audeat, ne quid veri nan audeat In fact, that there is no 
libel without falsehood. Unless these rights are admitted and established, I 
think it a matter of utter indifference who governs. I confess I care not 
how fast that system runs to ruin which opposes them. 

" It i& delightful to see how the Foxites have disabled themselves from 
serving the Regent. The people will be able to pay taxes two years more, 
and those fellows will then excite them to some expression of their discon- 
tent ; they will force themselves into the places of government ; they will 
govern with as much corruption and fraudulence as their predecessors ; and 
as much timber will be wanted for gibbets as for fleets. 

" I think we have thrown away a greater sum of money in vain than 
ever was expended before for any possible good. We have gained nothing 
but what it would have been better not to have gained, and the last vestiges 
of the constitution have totally disappeared. The senate of Rome did not 
impose so heavy a contribution on conquered Carthage as we pay every two 
years to our own senate, which strips us of everything that can make such 
subjection tolerable, and adds the grossest insult to the most insatiable ex- 
tortion. The fear of Bonaparte keeps people quiet, as children are kept 
quiet by the name of Some giant. I think of employing my time in prov- 
ing that neither war nor ministers are formidable; that nothing is very 
much so' but poverty, which strips us of all resistance when the enemy 
comes to close quarters ; that this is the nearest and most urgent mischief: 
and that those who demand our money in every by-road and high-road of 
our lives are to be crushed at any peril, if we hope at any future time for com- 
fort or security or peace. 

" I am about to borrow five thousand pounds that I may establish a press 
for this purpose, and may have the glory, at much private loss, disquiet^ and 
tianger, of setting the public mind more erect, and throwing the two fac- 
tions into the dust 

" I shall not cease to uphold the cause of Lord Wellington, and to recom- 
mend his establishment on the throne of Portugal ; to revolutionize South 
America, which is a far more civilized country than any in Europe (as I 
myself know from conversing with both officers and soldiers who were 
natives), and which will otherwise be under the power of Bonaparte in 
another year. The people of South America are of a military origin, the 
descendants of brave and honorable men; they are uncontaminated by 
blackguard religions, and neither befooled by kings nor cowed by inquisi- 
tions. Their religion and all their other habits must perpetually remind 
them of their ancestors ; and those men are always the best between whom 
and their forefathers no cloud or indistinctness intervenes. A North- Ameri- 
can can see his only through the pillory : this is a very different view from 
that which is presented under the banners of Pizarro and Cortes. It must 
also be conceded that an Englishman does not lift his foot so high above the 
dirt as a Spaniard, and that he degenerates much sooner and much more." 

, To that letter Southey had much to say, and said it with the 
strangest possible mixture of his former and his present self, Jacobin 
and Anti-Jacobin. He has a view of the libel-law that might have sat- 
isfied Eldon himself ; with a faith in republicanism (everywhere but 
in America) and a theory of colonial independence that the same 

£?-3<>-39»] PUBLIC AFFAIBS. 225 

learned " Old Bags n would have treated as insanity. At the notion 
of setting up a printer's press, he is terrified in- the extreme. 
Heaven forbid that Landor should draw on himself such vexations I 
Cold lead was more perilous than cold iron. If he would but bear 
in mind what the laws of libel were, he might say what he liked to 
the public with safety. " Of individuals all that ought to be might be 
said ; of the state anything that did not evidently show the wish to 
overthrow it ; and if he would but always be careful that the vehe- 
mence of his manner did not belie his intentions." One cannot but 
now remember nevertheless, that within a few months of this date 
Mr. Perry of the Chronicle had been dragged before the courts for 
copying a gentle sarcasm about the Prince of Wales becoming " nobly f 
popular/' and that Mr. Leigh Hunt and his brother were sent to / 
Horsemonger Lane Jail exactly seven months later for calling the same ( 
high personage an Adonis of fifty. 

Southey went on to say that he and Landor had the same end in 
view ; they only differed as to means. He would on no account have 
Wellington king of Portugal ; the good powers forefend he should 
vish it ! What he of all things desired was that the tide of opinion 
should take a republican direction, " and the whole Peninsula form 
itself into a great federal commonwealth ; the form of polity which 
seems the best attainable in our present state." Then very wisely he 
sums up his colonial policy thus : You must send out colonies, as a 
hive sends out swarms. Let them govern themselves. Protect them 
as long as they need protection. When that is necessary no longer, 
though the countries be then each different and independent, let the 
policy never be lost of remaining one people. Give the Briton who 
goes to you all privileges of a nation ; let the colonist here be an ' 
Englishman when he lands. " In fifty years America would petition 
to be received back into the family." 

Absurdly wrong as to that latter point, it is yet plain from the 
frequent recurrence of such passages in his letters that Southey had 
in his heart a more genuine republicanism than Landor, with whom 
it was often little more than an unreasoning hatred of kings. The 
illustration we have just seen the latter employ, that those men are 
always the best between whom and their forefathers no cloud or in- 
distinctness intervenes, and that a North-American could see his only 
through the pillory, is not one that Southey would have used He 
puts the matter in another way. In his opinion, the present letter 
went on to say, Landor rated the American Spaniards too highly, 
just as he overrated the Americans themselves. He asks his 
Mend to read Cotton Mather's History of New England, of which the 
annals were told by succession, not of princes but preachers. Half 
the Anglo-Americans, in Southey's view, went over red-hot from the 
conventicle, the other half flagrant from Bridewell ; and the tertium 
quid had the roguery of the one superinduced upon the hard vulgar- 
ity of the other ! 



After this, for two or three months, other than public subjects 
occupy the letters of both, and not until October are politics re- 
sumed. The interval had been marked by stirring events, of which 
the latest were Borodino and Moscow ; and at the reverses of Napo- 
leon's fortune Southey's exultation knew no bounds. 

" Will Bonaparte leave his army as he did in Egypt, or stay with therrj 
and keep his Christinas at Moscow ? A Lenten sort of Christmas it wit 
prove. The Russians, like the Turks, are in a very insubduable state ; theii 
beards and their idolatry are in their favor. It is of prodigious consequence 
that they don't understand parlez-vou-ing; and it will take a Frenchman, 
popinjays as they all are, a long time before he can gabble in Buss. Huzza I 
fight on, my merry men all, must be our tune ; and as long as we can keep 
out the white-livered Foxites at home, the cause of Europe will never be 
to be despaired of. Should they get the ascendancy, it would then indeed 
be time to turn Turk in despair." 

Landor's reply is less exultant ; his toleration of the English gov- 
ernment, to the direction of which Lord Liverpool had succeeded on 
the murder of Perceval, and of which Castlereagh and Sidmouth were 
now the animating spirits, is very naturally not on the increase ; and 
as to Bonaparte the view here expressed by him is in effect that which 
Hazlitt supported in later years with the same abuse of power arising 
from personal passion. 

" I do not think with you about Bonaparte. I hate him ; I execrate him a 
but I detest our own government worse. Genius, in a political sense, is the 
Salvator or the Redemptor mundL Corruption is the Devil, — not the Satan 
of Milton, but the sheer mean-spirited creature of the Evangelists. As for 
the cause of Europe, which you say is never to be despaired of, the kings 
and governments are such fools and rascals that I wish from my soul Bona-j 
parte may utterly extinguish all of them. I want to see some paring and 
burning. I can wait patiently for the fresh vegetation that will follow. I| 
want to see Finland liberated. That remote people had made a greater 
progress in agriculture and civilization in thirty years than any in Europe, 
if) perhaps, we except the Scotch. Bonaparte will do an infinity of good ; 
but I wish, when he has done it, he may be impaled. He forced the Em- 
peror of Austria to act infamously towards Prussia; the King of Prussia to 
act infamously towards Austria ; and the Emperor of Russia to act infa- 
t mously to every power in Europe. Willingly should I sacrifice my fortune, 
my life, everything but my soul, to abolish kingship throughout the world. 
Men never can be honest or peaceable, God will never permit it, while they 
live under this most cursed idolatry. 

" I am more and more convinced that Lord Wellington alone is able to 
unite such discordant nations as the Portuguese and Spanish. It requires 
but very little wisdom to govern well when a people Knows that he who 
governs can snforce obedience. He would not permit any great demand 
tor it I have finished my book on this subject, and a part of it will prob- 
ably light the candle when I seal this letter. It was at least as well written 
as anything of mine, and was enough to have raised me a host of enemies 
if I could have performed but the mere mechanical part of forcing it into 

Immediately upon this followed the general election in which Lan- 

£*• 30-39-] PUBLIC AFFAIRS. 227 

dor so far took part as to issue an address to the freeholders of Mon- 
mouthshire. He had declined, he said, himself to come forward ; hut 
be hoped they would choose a better colleague for their old member 
than the brother of the lord-lieutenant, to whose family pretensions 
in the point of intellect he was the reverse of complimentary. " We of- 
ten find throughout whole families," he wrote, " as lifeless an equality 
of mind and soul as the revolutionists of France would have estab- 
lished in rank and property. I trust we should be as unwilling to 
countenance the one as the other. Let us compassionate the evils we 
cannot alter, and remove the evils we can. Let us prove that the 
race of country gentlemen is not yet extinct, and that some one of 
this order can be found in the county of Monmouth whose character 
for probity and intelligence renders him worthy to be the colleague of 
Sir Charles Morgan." Another passage will show the view he took 
generally of public affairs, how closely he went to some of the main 
grievances, and how narrowly he missed the proper remedy. His 
atrong opinion of the duty of the House of Commons to deal with the 
question of waste lands has already been seen ; and other allusions 
made by him may be explained by the fact that he was writing with- 
in a few weeks of the execution at York, in one day, of fourteen mis- 
erable men who had taken part in Luddite riots. 

£ * We have seen a great number of prime-ministers since the beginning 
of the war, and, as far as the constitution is concerned, very little if any 
difference in their method, whatever there may have been in their maxims, 
of government This consideration should reconcile all parties. Since we 
are engaged in a contest, which could not have been avoided with honor 
nor terminated with safety, I have always thought the most favorably of 
those who have acted with most firmness and energy. To support us in 
the expenditure that is necessary, two other things are necessary also : first, 
the abolition of useless offices and unmerited pensions ; secondly, the en- 
couragement of agriculture and commerce. Englishmen will endure any 
privations for the glory of their country and the preservation of their liber- 
ty ; but they never will endure that the pittance of the brave should be 
thrown into the lap of the slothful There are pensioners, each of whom 
reives from the country they never have benefited as large a sum annu- 
*Hy as would raise a thousand industrious mechanics from want and de- 
spondency to competence and comfort Yet it is from these mechanics that 
toe country was rich and powerful ; and it is from these pensioners that 
d# is exhausted and distressed. If their pension-money had been applied 
l*» the sustenance of our starving manufacturers by wise and liberal en- 
fKiragement*, what violations of peace and security, of law, of order, of 
th* British character, what miseries and crimes, what oaths and perjuries, 
* bat robberies and murders, what imprisonments and chains and execu- 
tion*, might have been spared forever ! You will remember not many 
Months since, at a time when among the laboring classes there was a wide 
^■ar^ity and universal discontent that a general act of enclosure was recom- 
mended by the united voice of several counties. Although the scarcity 
r r »nl*l not have been relieved by an act of which the effects were not imme- 
fcate, jet many of its painful feelings would have been removed by a dis- 
position to prevent its recurrence. Such an act would not only have 



excited the industry of those useful 'men who wanted, in a greater degree 
than was ever known before, employment and subsistence, but it would 
have separated and diverted from mischief those turbulent spirits which 
were rising in the north. The only person in your jrrand jury who opposed 
a general act of enclosure, however, with the exception of the duke's stew- 
ard, was the duke's brother. And though certain it is that the opinions of 
men so little distinguished for abilities or information must have propor- 
tionately little weight with the wise, yet equally certain is it that tne wise: 
do not constitute the majority of mankind, and that wealth and rank have a 
greater influence on the affairs of this world than knowledge or integrity." 

The date of that address was October, 1812 ; the new Parliament, 
from which it had failed to exclude Lord Arthur Somerset, assembled 
in November ; and two months later Landor was eagerly intent on 
bringing before it an enclosure bill of his own. Writing to Southey 
from Llanthony in the last days of January, 1813, he thus refers 
to it : — 

" I remain here, not so much for pleasure as for business. I am bringing 
into Parliament a bill for enclosing these commons, which are now depas- 
tured by the sheep of no less than nine other parishes. Mine is perhaps the 
only manor in the world that is surrounded by so many. Persons of afl 
descriptions have assumed to themselves the liberty of turning out theii 
cattle here. Among the rest is one who has a peculiar enmity against me^ 
both as an Englishman and a gentleman, though we never met ; and this 
enmity is increased and exasperated by the necessity which he is await 
that he lies under of showing his right, such as he has, of turning out cntth 
in a manor where he has no property. He has given notice that he intendi 
to oppose my bill in Parliament, although I possess 95 in 112 of the land- 
tax ; and he has raised the common people of other parishes against me 
If you can procure me any assistance in Parliament, you will render me th^ 
greatest service, as all opposition is attended by grievous expense. If th< 
public good were not about to be promoted, as well as my own, I woul<j 
not ask one earthly being for support ; but in the present state of things i 
few miserable sheep are infected by the scab, all improvement in the breexj 
is discouraged, and the large half starving flocks break into the enclosure* 
and destroy the grass and corn of the farmer, and the garden and croft ol 
the cottager. In case of enclosure, I shall plant above a million of trees o* 
land which is now unproductive, and raise a very large flock of Spanud 
sheep, which at present can with great difficulty be kept from the contagtoi 
that eternally prevails here. The landlord I nave mentioned is so base i 
man that he bought the cottage of a woman bowed down by poverty an^ 
age, for one guinea. It was worth thirty." 

Southey did all he could for the bill, and there is a mention in bii 
letter of the members he had written to about it ; * but, the opinio] 
of his own county representatives being adverse, Landor had to abau 

• One of Parr's letters has reference to the subject " Dear Walter. — I will |^vci 
you all the assistance in my power, when I have received your bill, ana am infamy 
oy your solicitor about the time at which it is to be debated in the House. He rrra*; 
get the bill sent, as if to some member of Parliament at my house. I am very mucl 
pleased with your brother Charles. I tried to get him over to dinner, when I Had twi 
very learned visitors. But he could not come. I shall very soon ask him again, for h 
is a very sensible and a very well-mannered clergyman. Prav give my best compIJ 
mente and best wishes to your lady, and believe me truly your friend, S. Pakr." 



don it early in the session. Even by that time, however, subjects of . 
nwre engrossing interest had supervened; and what with his own \ 
troubles and Bonaparte's troubles he had more than enough to occu*  
pv him. The private disputes are reserved to another section ; but 
rhat passed between Southey and himself during the eventful months 
that preceded the abdication at Fontainebleau will properly be added 

In April, 1813, Landor notices a newspaper report of Austria joining 
the coalition against France. " Kings and emperors are such a de- 
testable race of rascals, I mean the present families of them, that 1 
an hope nothing from their coalition at all favorable to the happiness 
>f mankind. Alexander seems beneficent bj nature. At all events, 
the fewer Frenchmen there are in the world, the happier will the world 
te. There is no comfort or quiet for these gnats." In something of 
the same spirit Southey replies ; * saddened by private as well as pub- 
lic occurrences, and less eager than he had been a few months before 
for continuance of war with America. He was full of fear that the 
lierman campaigns might lead to a peace, being convinced that a 
peace leaving Bonaparte alive would be worse than war. Still, there- 
fore, he hoped to see his destruction, and then peace might be lasting. 
But how disastrous was the outlook at home 1 His friend had been 
too true a prophet " Our naval superiority stricken, the foundations 
of every establishment undermined, and the dragon's teeth sown all 
iround us." 

" I suspected that the Americans must have made some improvements in 
Tannery, and it was a relief to my heart when I learnt that this was actually 
the case. They stuff their wadding with bullets, — which accounts for the 
tarnage on board our ships, — and they make their cartridges of very fine 
iheet-lead, so that it is not necessary to sponge the guns ; thus they fire 
nearly two to one, almost doubling their force. I fear I shall not see you 
this year. Remember me to Mrs. Landor. God bless you." 

Happily for himself however, he recovered spirits as the year went 
tm ; for the laureateship fell to him in the autumn, and it would* never 
have done to open in less cheery strain than he did, rejoicing in the 
gift and exulting in the return he was able to make for it 

" In happy hoar doth he receive 
The Laurel, meed of famous bards of yore, 
Which Dryden and diviner Spenser wore, — 
In happy hoar; and well may he rejoice, 

Whose earliest task must be 
To raise the exultant hymn for Victory! " 

The .letter in which Southey told his friend all about his appoint- 
ment — how Croker had applied on his behalf to the prince, who j 
promised it to him ; how Lords Liverpool and Hertford had meanwhile ' 
offered it to Scott, who waived it handsomely in his favor ; and how, in 

* In the same letter, I may mention, he tells him of the failure and collapse of the i 
scheme of the EdMbwgh Register, from which he had expected so much. See anUj I 
pp. 145, 214. ' 





taking it, he had neither fear of the newspaper jokesmiths nor distrui 
of his own power to make the office respectable — was written imined 
ately upon his return to Keswick, after r, five-and-forty hours' mai 
coach journey from London in the middle of November, 1813 ; and wa 
acknowledged by Landor in the same month from Swansea, with heai 
ty congratulations on finding at the least so much honesty and disced 
ment displayed by the men in power. " I never thought that a plac 
gave honor to any one, or that any one gave honor to a place ; bu 
there is something equally agreeable both to the reasonable and thi 
romantic mind in reflecting that in war and in poetry, the element 
of ardent souls, the first men of our country fill the first station." 

The interest in the great war tragedy was meanwhile thiokenmj 
fast, and the catastrophe was rapidly approaching. The battle oi 
Leipsic had been fought in October, and before the end of the yea! 
Germany was free. Then, at the opening of the next momentouj 
year, came out Southey's first laureate effort, the Carmen Triumphal^ 
and Landor, whom business had taken to London at the time, wai 
hoping also to sustain the feeling against France by a series of letters h 
the Courier with the signature of Oalvus. u You have seen," Southej 
writes to his brother,* " Calvus's last letter in the Courier. Landoi 
is the writer. I entirely agree with him that this is the time for urn 
doing the mischief done by the peace of Utrecht. France was ther 
made too strong for the repose of Europe, and she ought now to hi 
stript of Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche-Comt6. w 

Of these letters Landor had told Southey immediately on his return 
from London in the first days of February, 1814 : — 

" The Carmen Triumphal* was sounding in my ears all the way as I re- 
turned. I wish from my soul that this most admirable ode could (but toe 
surely it cannot) be translated into every language, and chanted in ever^ 
church, of Christendom, and that the notes were affixed to the door of everj 
town halL 1 too had been employing some midnight hours, to prove that 

( Justice roust go before, 
And Retribution must make plain the way '; t 

but the evil genius to whom I committed the manuscript has printed whai 
he chose and omitted all the best. I hope he has, however, executed oni 

• Letters, U. 851. 

f These lines are from the last stanza of the Ode: a spirit-stirring one undoubtedly 
and such as might justify still the uses of a poet-laureateshlp, if anything, even Tenny- 
son's genius, could do it 

" When shall the dove go forth ? 0, when 
Shall peace return among the sons of men ? 
Hasten, benignant Heaven, the blessed day 1 

Justice must go before, 
And Retribution must make plain the way; * 

Force must be crushed by Force, 
The power of evil by the* power of good, 
Ere order bless the Buffering world once more, 

Or peace return again. 
Hold then right on in your auspicious course. 
Ye princes and ye people, hold right on ! 
Your task not yet is done: 
Pursue the blow — yo know your foe — 
Complete the happy work so well begun." 

^T. 30-39-] PUBLIC APFAIBS. 231 

order of mine, in sending to your bookseller the Letters of Calvus. The 
best he declines to print I have written a most complete refutation of Sin 
James Mackintosh's speech. Scorn forbids me to ask the fellow whether he 
has received it Let it perish. What think you of Lord Castlereagh visit- 
ing the scoundrel Caulincourt? The Courier published one out of three 
parts of my reply to the impudent paper of Bonaparte." 

But already Southey had heard of the Calvus through Coleridge, 
then also writing in th& -£!ourier ; and in his next letter, everyway a 
characteristic one, asks if Lander had seen what he had himself been 
writing in the same paper, Who calls for peace at this momentous hour ? 
an ode that had grown out of the castrations of the Carmen Trium* 
pkale, whose official character had precluded entire freedom of 
speech. For five years, Southey continued, he had been preaching 
the necessity of declaring Bonaparte under the ban of human na- 
ture ; and if this had been done in 1805, even the Emperor of Aus- 
tria, " wretch as he is," could never have given him his daughter in 
marriage. Now his hope was that the other " wretch " might require 
terms of peace that the allies would not consent to. Not that he 
wanted the Bourbons restored. Except when expulsions had been 
effected by foreign force, restorations were bad things. The Bour- 
bons had been a detestable race, and adversity had failed to restore 
in them the virtues royalty had stifled. It was an old notion of his 
that the Revolution would not have done its work till the houses 
both of Austria and Bourbon were destroyed ; and he proceeds to tell 
Landor a story of Hofer, which he had himself heard from Adair to 
whom the facts were known, to the effect that when that gallant 
man had actually succeeded in getting himself into an Austrian pris- 
on for safety, he was deliberately turned out of his asylum by the 
Austrian government. If any member of that government, there* 
fore, escaped the sword or the halter, there would be a lack of justice 
in this world, " which will require some expense of brimstone in the 
next to balance the account. The fact is one of the most damnable 
in human history." 

Eager and prompt was Lander's reply : — 

" I have indeed seen, or rather heard, that tnimpet-tongued ode, begin- 

4 Who calls for peace at this momentous hour ' ; 

and I smile at this moment when I find you calling it ' from the castrations ' 
of the Carmen Triumphale. Those of old Saturn, falling on the sea, pro- 
duced a Venus. These, falling on an island, will, I hope, produce a Minerva. 
I, and my friends the dogs, can never forget the honors you have bestowed 
on Whitefoot ; * but I am afraid they will be followed up by some irrever- 
ence from our critics. They like to pick a bone with their betters. 

u I often wonder at myself, and it is the only occasion on which self- 
complacency falls in with my wonder, to find your sentiments and mine so 
very similar both in poetry and politics. On Spenser alone we differ totally. 
You will find in the letters of Calvus as deep a hatred of the Austrian court 

* See ante, p. 161. 


as could be expressed in them ; and your anecdote of its conduct to the 
excellent Hofer makes me yearn from my.soul for its destruction. No family 
that ever existed in the world was ever so ungrateful, not even the Stuarts. 
A scoundrel of an emperor held a long debate in what manner he should 
receive John Sobieski, who had just saved him from being an assistant to the 
black eunuch, after the proper initiation. It was determined that he could 
not, according to etiquette, shake hands with him, much less embrace him. 
Instead of returning any thanks for the salvation of the capital, he enlarged 
on the benefits his ancestors had conferred on Poland. Sobieski said he 
felt happy that Poland had been able in some measure to return them. How 
scandalously was the Duke of Marlborough stripped of his petty principality 
of Mendelheim ! and what an ungrateful was Maria Theresa I Bona- 
parte now sees that his vanity alone has been his Vuin. As a politician he 
should have left no king or emperor of the old race, except in Russia. If he 
had only destroyed the house of Austria, he might have soon, but not imme- 
diately, restored the kingdom of Poland in his own family, with all Prussia 
Proper. He might then have played off the Russians against the Turks, or 
the Turks against the Russians, and in either case would have had the 
Persians for his allies or his dependants. By this train of policy, which 
however was broken at the first fink, he would have ruined us in the East 

There is something in that view of the case undoubtedly ; but on 
the whole it is singular and not satisfying to observe how little of 
what we now should think the true moral of the momentous events 
then passing was extracted from them by two such near lookers-on as 
these famous correspondents. What the mere politicians of the time 
might be forgiven for dropping out of account can hardly be excused 
to Landor or to Southey. Men of such activity of intellect, familiar 
with ancient and with modern history, and who had so clear an 
understanding of what the French Revolution involved, might surely 
also have been expected more clearly to see that so decisive an out- 
break of democracy would have to run its natural course ; that the 
principles embodied and represented by Bonaparte would survive his 
repression and abuse of them ; and that the curtain about to fall on 
him would have to be uplifted again for them. 

Two more passages from Southey's letters immediately following 
the last from Landor, and too curious to be lost altogether, are all 
that can here be given. The date of the first is after the news of 
the fatal affair of Bergen-op-Zoom. 

" As for the Dutch, their torpor at this time is such that they deserve, ac- 
cording to the old punster's curse, to be undammed in this world, and 
damned in the next Yet I was struck the other day in reading George 
Gascoigne's poems to come to a passage which added one to the many 
striking points of comparison between their war of deliverance and that of 
the Spaniards. He speaks of them just in the same contemptuous manner 
as the Spaniards are spoken of by almost all who have served with them :— 

* They be but hollow gear, 
As weak as wind which with one puff up goeth; 
And yet they brag, and think thov have no fear, 
Because Harlem hath hitherto hefd out 
Although indeed (aa they have suffered Spain) 
The end thereof even now doth rest in doubt' " 

JET. 30-39.] FBIVA.TE DISPUTES. 233 

Then, in May, 1814, when Bonaparte had left for Elba, when Wel- 
lington had been created a duke, and when Louis the Eighteenth had 
taken possession of the Tuileries, Southey thus wrote : — 

"So the curtain has fallen after a tragedy of five-and-twenty years! In 
two respects the catastrophe is as it should be. Bonaparte's degradation is 
complete. Even his military reputation is lost, and he is suffered to live 
more because he may safely be despised than because of his Austrian mar- 
riage. And the French in baseness and impudence have contrived to outdo 
their former masterpieces in this kind. Amiable people ! they have been 
rather the victims of the tyrant than his agents I Then the patriotism of the 
rascals I The municipality can no longer reconcile it to their consciences to 
keep silence I Wretches I If Bonaparte's last order concerning his good 
city of Paris had been executed, I could with little difficulty have brought 
myself to believe that the powder could not have been more fitly ex- 

But before that letter reached its destination Landor had quitted 
England ; and the causes that led to his departure will appear in my 
Msumption of the narrative of his residence at Llanthony. 


In the early months of 1813 Landor reminded Southey that the year / 
had come which, according to his promise, was to be that of his second 
visit to Llanthony. Since his and Mrs. Southey's first visit there 
had been many improvements as to comfort ; a truth of which he 
would not find much difficulty in persuading her. Could he also 
persuade her to make the trial ? His house, which had been built 
for a bachelor, and would be enlarged next year by an addition of 
four good bedrooms, had two large ones already, and several smaller; 
and the best had the advantage which Italian architects laid great 
stress upon, — they were al mezzo giomo* He could insure them 
well-aired beds, and his horses should meet them anywhere and at 
any time. 

Southey hesitated, doubted if he could make the time suitable, de- 
sired it too much to drop it altogether, and was still entertaining it as 
not impossible, when, within three weeks of the former, a second 
letter reached him. It opened ominously, for already Southey had 
sufficient experience of his friend to know that any new literary en- 
terprise was not unlikely to foreshadow some fresh personal vexation ; 
the one being commonly used as a safety-valve or escape from the 
other. " I have," this letter began, " written a comedy, and shall 
send it within a few days to your booksellers for you. This, in my \ 
opinion, may be acted. There is a prefatory discourse by the editor, 
much in the style of our great editors on the other side of the 
Tweed.'* But the personal vexation, of which here was the sure fore- 
runner, carried with it in this case a special annoyance to Southey 
himself ; for the letter opening thus lightly passed into tragical utter- 
ance in the very next line, as it conveyed the terrible announcement 



that with the tenant he bad himself introduced — the " agriculturist " 
of whom so many letters had been written, the supposed man of cap- 
ital to whom the best farm of Llanthony had been let on terms ex- 
travagantly liberal, the real man of destiny pro-selected to be a 
plague and torment to both friends — Landor was now plunged over 
head and ears in disputes of an irreconcilable bitterness, and to which 
the only possible issue must be hopeless and irretrievable loss. 

" I am under no small tribulation from that Betham of whose family you 

who are each above seventy. That the son might have a comfortable house 
and a large farm, I consented to accept the resignation of a lease from an 
excellent tenant, and to allow him £ 50 a year for it, which £ 50 however 
Mr. Betham was to pay me, — the old tenant thinking my security better 
than his. Mr. B. neglected to gather in his corn, of which the crop was 
excellent, and lost at least £ 200 by this ; he did not thatch his hay, by 
which he lost £ 200 more ; and by a series of such conduct as might toe 
expected from a' sailor turned farmer, and by living at the rate of £ 1.000 a 
year, he has succeeded in spending his wife's fortune, — about £ 3,000. In 
fifteen months I have received no rent from him, though his rent amounts 
to above £ 1,100. I did not demand it the first half-year, however much I 
wanted it ; and that he might not pay it the second he lopped my trees, and 
ploughed all the meadow -ground on one farm. In the midst of this last 
transaction I wrote civilly to him, telling him that I presumed it was by mis- 
take, and requesting that it might be discontinued. He replied that he 
should not be hampered in what he considered for the good of the farm, and 
' besides, that I had promised him every indulgence.' In fact, I had never 
refused him any request, however unreasonable. To prevent my other 
meadows from being ruined, which would render the estate quite unde- 
sirable to any future tenant, I have (as he foresaw and wished) brought an 
action against him, but expressed at the same time a readiness to settle it by J 
arbitration. This he refused ; and refuses also to pay any rent> under pre- I 
text that the matters in dispute will be settled in a court of law. ' 

" Although for several months he came uninvited and passed his evenings 
in my house, although his sheep have consumed the produce of my garden 
and fields and woods, he has had the baseness to threaten to shoot my 
chickens if they come into his fields. I mention this to show the extreme 
baseness to which he descends. I offered to put his hedges in repair, if he 
would keep them so : he declined it, finding it more convenient to pasture 
his sheep in my meadows, and turning them into bare fallows that they may 
be forced upon my land by hunger. 

" I have mentioned only a few instances of this fellow's roguery and in- 
gratitude; but enough for you to judge of him. All his brothers — three 
certainly — have abandoned every visible means of procuring an honest 
livelihood, and are with him ; although his poor laborers are starving, and 
he has actually borrowed money from them. In fact, he thinks it more rep- 
utable to be convicted of roguery than suspected of poverty. He has 
embezzled the money I allowed for the repairs of the house, because I 
insisted on no written agreement and relied on his honor. He has dis- 
charged me and my* gamekeeper from shooting on his farm ! " 

Making allowance for hardly avoidable partiality in stating one's 


own case, there will appear to have been evidence to support every 
count in this indictment, as well as others to be preferred hereafter. 
Southey's ominous remark upon Betham's ignorance of agriculture 
will be recollected ; his previous employments having in fact been 
those of usher in his father's school, and afterwards of petty officer 
in an India Company's ship. But it was not the character of the 
man only, but, as appears from this letter, all the surroundings of the 
man, that marked him out for the part he had to play. It was 
one of his sisters, as before we have seen, who induced Southey to 
recommend him. The old gentleman his father, as we here observe, 
was the origin of Landor*s first troubles with him. Nor could a non- 
paying tenant present himself to a luckless landlord under conditions 
more aggravating than those of giving bed and board to a quarter of 
a dozen idle brothers who had " abandoned every other visible means 
of procuring an honest livelihood." Does it not all confirm what has 
been said of destiny in the matter, and connect with it, after the 
manner of the Greeks, the offender's whole helpless family ? "I for- 
got to tell you," wrote Charles Lamb to Landor nearly twenty years 
biter in an unpublished letter now lying before me, " I knew all your 
Welsh annoyancers, the measureless Bethams. I knew a quarter of a 
mile of them. Seventeen brothers and sixteen sisters, as they appear 
to me in memory. There was one of them that used to fix his long 
legs on my fender, and tell a story of a shark, every night, endless, 
immortaL How have I grudged the salt-sea ravener not having had 
his gorge of fiim ! The shortest of the daughters measured five foot 
eleven without her shoes. Well, some day we may confer about 
them. But they were tall Surely I have discovered the longi- 
tude — " Of course the hero of the shark was Landor's chief tor- 
mentor. He had been in the East and in the West Indies ; and, for 
the sake of the whole family of sharks he was to bring up to have 
their gorge of Landor, the salt-sea ravener had spared him. 

Southey's answer was written in the midst of family distress. His 
wife's brother had come to them on a visit, had been suddenly at- 
tacked by illness which proved fatal a few days before the date of his 
letter, and had left everything dismal and comfortless around them. 
But bitter beyontl all was his grief and surprise at Betham's conduct. 
Personally he knew little of him, and never meant to recommend 
him ; but the man certainly had come of a good stock, and if he had 
not himself implicitly believed in his honor and honesty he would 
never in an evil hour have directed him to the Vale of Ewyas. It 
was very strange, but misgivings about him, though not affecting his 
honesty, had occurred a few months ago. He had sent over to Kes- 
wick last summer from Abergavenny a very vulgar fellow with letters 
of introduction ; and this had given Southey a bad opinion of his 
taste in companions. 

Southey then talks of the Charitable Dowager. He supposes the 
heroine to have been drawn from the life, and thinks that as a drama 


there was a want of incident, and, in that on which the catastrophe 
depends, of probability ; but he had found the dialogue abounding 
with those felicities that flashed from Landor in prose and verse more 
than from any other writer. He remembered nothing but Jeremy 
Taylor that at all resembled them. Jeremy had things as perfect 
and touching in their kind, — but a different kind : the same beauty, 
the same exquisite fitness: but not the point and poignancy dis- 
played in the Comedy and the Commentary, or the condensation and 
strength that characterized Gebir and Count Julian. He goes on 
then to notice certain neighborly compliments bestowed in the com- 
edy on the town and townsfolk of Abergavenny ; and in proof that 
some good nevertheless might come out of Wales besides flannel and 
lamb'8-wool stockings, instances a book he has been lately reading on 
* Eastern history by a Major Price. He adds that in three weeks he is 
going to London, and that he has given up the Edinburgh Register 
with the fourth volume, having got into bad hands with it, and being 
in a fair way of being defrauded ; but he does not regret the transac- 
tion on the whole. Scott owed him a good turn for that indifferent 
one, and the laureateship now hung within his reach. 

From Llanthony, Landor answered in August : upon the personal 
points first, and after on the comedy. Nothing can be wittier than 
his attack on the old method of comedy writing, nothing more inge- 
nious than the simpler mode he prefers ; but it may be feared that 
his chances were not greater in the Dowager than they formerly were 
in Count Julian of carrying a theatreful of patient listeners along 
with him. 

u There are two things in your letter which grieve me ; yet perhaps there 
are hardly any two things that have wider openings for consolation. Mrs. 
Southey will be unhappy at losing her brother, from the great gentleness 
and pure affections of her nature. You will enter into all these, and come 
to your own at last My habits have been more dissipated, and my heart 
more hardened, than yours could have been by any accidents or occurrences 
of life ; yet nothing can happen to the five or six people I love, whether it 
be by death or loss of any kind, but I must devise some reasons for them 
why they must not be unhappy. If you continue the History, I hope and 
believe there will be little to regret, ultimately, in your abandonment of the 
Edinburgh Register. You have been defrauded; it cannot be of anything 
which you may not recover by the same means as you acquired it I have 
also been defrauded, and have no means whatever of replacing what I have 

" Betham told Addis, my tenant and a very honest man, that he should 
pay me no rent at all events for four years. Here is between four and five 
thousand pounds gone by trusting to his honor. I suffered by the same in- 
fatuation before. I cannot bring myself to be comforted by Ovid, whose 
sentences are full of poetry and wisdom, and are his greatest excellence. 

' Leniter ex merito qntcqnfd patiare ferendnm eat: 
Qua venit indiguo poena, dolenda venit' 

" I wish to improve my comedy, and to have it acted. The acting I never 
thought of; but Juan Santos de Murieta, a poor man of Castro who received 


me hospitably when I found Bilbao in occupation of the French, is perhaps 
ruined by those barbarians. I see no speedier way, little speed as there is 
in this, of sending him some money. If some dashing and adventurous 
bookseller would give me £ 100, or £ 50, or £ 30 for all I can ever get by 
the comedy and the preface, — which is, I think, a humorous specimen of 
modern editorship, — he might recover as much by the mere acting. But 
not unless you will suggest some improvement in the plan. I never could 
keep to any plan of my own. I am romantic, and I am in eternal dread of 
being absurd. This has often thrown a chill over me, and closed the petals 
of my fairest flowers. I will add a portion of the Preface, in which I de- 
fend, in the character of Hardcastle, my own manner. The editor says : — 

" It is far from a hasty or a slight production ; vet the plot, one would imagine, is too 
simple for the times. Hardcastle has preferred truth to surprise, and character to 
everything: for, although the follies and vices he satirizes are general enough, still the 
persons in whom they are represented are choice individuals of their kind. Intricacy 
of plot was always considered necessary, and the more so when delicacy was not* ft 
was however so' difficult to make the audience keep watch and ward for it, and to 
command an uninterrupted attention for five whole acts, that many of the best writers, 
from Terence to the present times, have combined two entire plots, hoping, as our au- 
thor expresses it ' that what is twisted together will untwist together, and leaving a 
great deal to the goodness of providence and to the faith and charity of their fellow- 
creatures. Your intricate plotters bring many great chances into many whole 
families, and sometimes into several and distant countries, within the day; and what 
is more difficult and incredible, send off all parties well satisfied. For ray own share,' 
he proceeds, ' I am contented with seeing any one fault wittily rebuked and checked 
effectually; and think that surprising enough, considering the time, without the forma- 
tion of attachments, the begetting or finding of children, bickerings, buffets, deaths, 
marriages, distresses; wealth, poverty; wealth again, love again, whims and suspicions, 
shaking heads and shaking hands. All these things are natural; but one would rather 
breathe between them, and perhaps would think it no bad husbandry to put some of 
mem off to another time. The combination of them, after all, marvellous as it ap- 
pears, is less difficult to contrive than to credit. I have been an idle man and have 
read or attended the greater part of the plays that are extant, and will venture to 
affirm that there are barely a dozen plots amongst them, comic or tragic : so that 
it is evidently an easier matter to run over the usual variations than to keep entirely 
in another tune and raise no recollections. Both in tragedies and comedies the changes 
are pretty similar, and nearlv in the same places. You perceive the turns and wind- 
ings of the road a mile before you, and know exactly the precipice down which the 
hero or heroine must fall : vou can discover with your naked eye who does the mis- 
chief and who affords the help; where the assassin bursts out with the dagger, and 
where the old gentleman shakes the crab-stick over the shoulder of his dissolute 
nephew. I do not admire these direction-posts to perplexities and intrigues ; I oppose 
this agrarian law, this general-enclosure act : I would not attempt to square the circle 
of poetry, and am avowedly a nonjuror to the doctrine of grace and predestination in 
the drama. 1 Of the Charitable Dowager he says : ' One action leads to and brings about 
one event, naturally but not necessarily: the action is vicious, the event is desirable, 
and is accompanied by the chastisement of the evil-doer, whose machinations are the 
sole means of accomplishing what their motions seem calculated to thwart and over- 
throw. No character is introduced that does not tend towards the development of the 
plot, or does not manifest the bent and inclination of the principals : no one is merely a 
prompter to a witticism, or gentleman-usher to a repartee. Characters in general are 
made subservient to the plot: here the plot is made subservient to the characters ; all 
these are real. I have only invited them to meet, and bestowed on them those abilities 
for conversation without which a comedy might be very natural, but would not possess 
the fffffere of a comedy. I wanted to expose the very few peculiarities I have ex- 
posed. I could not bring them together in another way. Any one may compose a 
more artificial piece; but whoever could make the present one more complex, preserv- 
ing its regularity, its consistency, its truth of character, can do more than I can. I 
should lose myself in attempting it; I should lose also whatever I might carry about 
with me to prove that I am I. Perhaps I should be more like others; but I should be 
more visiblv their inferior.' " 

" What is your opinion of my giving acts the name of scenes, and scenes 


c III. 

of acts ; and my reasonings on that head in the letter of Hardcastle to his 
cousin Leonard Dusset, — which I forgot to date, 

1 From my lodgings at the Bath, this 14th of January, 1687.* " 

To which may be added a further fragment, found among his 
papers, from this much-cherished " editorial " or Hardcastle preface ; 
pursuing his laugh against the bookmaking of which the principal 
scene then was Edinburgh, and the chief promoter Scott, in whose 
life may still be read the melancholy page of it disclosing the story 
of his commercial partnership with Constable and the Ballantynes. 
That ill-fated parted partnership began some three or four years be- 
fore this date ; since then had followed in rapid succession a series of 
printing and bookselling ventures of which every one is now known 
to have been a disastrous failure ; and in the present year there had 
appeared those letters of Miss Seward which even Scott was ashamed 
to have helped in putting forth. Landor, on the other hand, was 
never very tolerant of the publishing " craft, " protested all his life 
(in my judgment properly) against such offices of editing as con- 
sisted simply in collecting indiscriminately the worst as well as the 
best productions of a famous writer, and swelling out even these by 
needless annotation ; and his present humorous attack represented 
something more than his personal resentment of the mention of him- 
self in the Seward book.* All the jest has perished now ; but these 
two fragments may tell us with what avidity it was followed at the 
time, and how little, while the humor of it lasted, Landor is likely to 
have cared for, or given any proper consideration to, the troubles and 
losses now darkly closing in upon him. 

"motto fob thb comedy. 

Nunc adeo, si ob earn rem vobis mea vita invisa, JEschine, est, 
Quia non ju*ta. injusta, prorsus omnia omnino obsequor; 
Missa faci'o: effundite, emite, facite quod vobis lubet. 

Terect. Addpk. cire. finem. 

Aut tovt' op* avrov kal iraA' Jjy tA dpdjiara* 

Non Jo conobbe il mondo mentre 1' ebbe. 


" The editor of the Charitable Dowager has waited a considerable time in 
the hope of obtaining two able coadjutors in the departments of annotator 
and antiquary : for the public is not to be informed, ' at this time of day,' 
that the office of editing a work is far more difficult and delicate than the 
mere labor of writing one. Under which conviction men of the most 
lively genius have toiled through glossaries and archives, with great punc- 
tuality and good faith. A few words indeed have slipped inadvertently 
into their commonplace books, — such words however as the most morose 
of the original writers would willingly resign. With this exception, they 
have taken nothing ; satisfied with the more honorable reward that the 

* See ante, p. 68. 

j£T. 30—39.3 PRIVATE DISPUTES. 239 

booksellers have promptly and prodigally bestowed. Every author who 
can be clearly proved to have failed in business by no imprudence in his 
ventures of wit and no launching out in his expenditure of learning, hath 
all his books and papers given back, which, although to him perhaps the 
memories of little but misfortune, may excite the industry or curiosity of 
others : those works also of the more prosperous, which their modesty or 
their indifference threw away, have been presented to them again, in the 
same letter and binding, as their most cherished offspring. Our maxim 
hath been, If you take Isaac, you shall take Esau : let each have his blessing. 
. . . Letters of state, of love, of enmity, are edited in many instances by 
some ingenious and celebrated hand, assisted by those literary friends who 
are most conversant on the different topics. And he hath taken care, for 
the consistency and character of the writer, that no asperity shall be 
softened, no rash assertion recalled, no error of any kind corrected; re- 
solved that the features of the dead shall not be relaxed by death, and that 
the passions of the living shall not be irritated by any whom their resent- 
ments can reach.* . . . Returning to the comedy before us, the reader for 
the present must regret the volume of notes which at a time perhaps not 
distant will be appended. Such only can be afforded to this first volume 
as are requisite to elucidate the editor. Nor has it been thought necessary 
in a preliminary discourse to discuss whether the author were • privy 
councillor or a puisne judge. One of the name, a Humphrey Hardcastle, 
was certainly a puisne judge ; but there is reason to suppose it was either 
the father or son of our comic writer. On a more minute inquiry made by 
my learned friend Archibald Stokes, Esq., of the King's Mews, in the jour- 
nals of the Privy Council, for which distinguished body I take this oppor- 
tunity of expressing my esteem and veneration, it hath been discovered 
that our author was not actually a privy councillor, but was only brought 
before, and interrogated by, that illustrious assembly: not, as it would 
appear, for any actual misdemeanor, but because those unsettled times re- 
quired " — [ Cetera desunt.] 

To the Llanthony letter Southey did not immediately reply, being 
now in London on the laureate business ; from this date (October, 
1813) to the May following the Llanthony disputes assumed their most 
serious form, and involved the most disastrous consequences ; yet 
this is exactly the interval when, judging from Landor's letters to his 
friend, not his own but the public affairs and not his law-pleas but 
his Latin poems, we might suppose to be receiving his exclusive at- 
' tention. Assuming that the letter above named had not reached 
Southey, or that he had not leisure to answer so many things at once, 
he selects the thing as to which his needs are most pressing. " I 
really do wish that my comedy should be both printed and acted. 
You alone are capable of giving me any advice that I am likely to 
follow in altering the plot. A comedy must have some bustle; a 
tragedy should have none. The passions will permit no movements 
but their own, — they should be painted naked, like heroes and gods. 
If I can make my comedy worth ten pounds, I will send the money 
to an honest and generous man named Juan Santos de Mureta, whose 
property was destroyed by the French at Castro. He received me 

* " See the letters of Miss Anna Seward, in wjiich her consistency is pat upon as 
firm a foundation as her judgment, her genius, or her chastity." 


there most hospitably when, on my return from the frigate which poor 
Atkins* commanded, I found that the enemy had entered Bilbao." 
His friend would observe that he had lowered his hopes from a hun- 
dred pounds to ten ; but seriously he did not at present believe he 
could, by any exertion, write anything for which a bookseller might 
safely exceed the amount he here mentioned. 

Nor had that letter been despatched many days before he wrote 
again to say that he had been finishing an old scrap of Latin poetry 
as usual " Finishing ! as usual ! — no, continuing and altering ; 
then either losing it or lighting a taper with it to seal a letter. Here 
are a few lines that will give you some idea of the present work. I 
have written about two hundred." And the letter closes with forty- 
three closely transcribed lines of the poem of Corythu&.'t 

Southey meanwhile had been writing with some misgivings about 
the comedy. He began his letter by saying that when in London he 
had been asked whether he was the author of Count Julian: a 
question implying a great compliment to him and small discernment 
in the questioner. To his own thinking Landor's notion of tragedy 
was perhaps too severe ; yet he believed that his friend could write 
one, that even in representation might succeed, more easily than he 
could a comedy ; and very certainly he would find it easier to write a 
new comedy altogether, than to introduce action and bustle into a plan 
constructed without them. That was his verdict, expressed with all 
delicacy, on the Dowager. Yet had he found in the dialogue of it a 
peculiar character easier to feel than to analyze. Landor's prose was 
like his verse ; everywhere terse, condensed, and full of thought ; and 
with flashes of which the thought and the expression were so apt, so 
happy, and so original, that he knew not where they were to be par- 
alleled, or where anything approaching them was to be found. Cory- 
thus he had also read with immense satisfaction : and he reminds Lan- 
dor of a scheme formerly mentioned by him J of publishing a selection of 
modern Latin poems with criticisms ; urging him now to carry it out, 
showing how suitable it would be to public schools and universities, 
and expressing himself sanguine of its success. 

To all this however there is not even allusion in the next of Lan- 
dor's letters, nor does the Dowager herself appear again ! Occupation 
upon his Latin verse absorbs him once more, and everything else is 
as though it had not been. In the pleasure of any new composition 
past disappointments were always as quickly forgotten as even pres- 
ent pains and disquietudes. " Valpy the printer," he now wrote to 
tell Southey, " the greatest of all coxcombs, very much wished to 
print my Latin poems ; but I have an intention to print them at Ox- 
ford, under the title of Idyllia Heroun atque Heroidum, in a size like 
the sixpenny books of children. It will cost me £ 35 ; and I intend to 


• See ante, p. 187. . . ^ . . 

t It is the fifth of the Idyllia Heroioa in Pomata et Iwcnptume*, pp. 19-88. And 
see Hellenic*, pp. 174 - 186. 
X Ante, pp. 182, 188. 

*T. 30-39.] raiVATB DISPTJTB. 241 

give whatever they sell for, which may amount to about half the 
money, to the poor of Leipsig. If I had finished or preserved my 
Polyxena, it would be perhaps the best At present they consist of) 
1. Corythu8 y sive Mar* Paridis atque (Eno/M** 2. firyope. 3. Pan et 
Pity*. 4. Cormt* et GaWtroS. 5. Helena, ad Pudoris Aram, I 
have published nothing that will bear a moment's comparison with 
Corythu*. My head rises to the shoulder of Robert Smith, and every 
other of the modern Latin poets is below my knee. Such are my 
dreams. What poet would tell his as frankly 9 or to whom else could 
I tell mine 1 " And he winds up with forty-six more lines of Coiythus. 
Yet at this very time the most critical hour of his fortune had 
come, - Out of his great dispute with Betham had sprung sundry 
minor differences, not merely with people who took Betham's part, - 
but with others having small interest in the tenant but some dislike of 
the landlord. A state of things had arrived when any one ill-disposed 
to the master of Llanthony had means of annoyance at hand which 
not a few were ready to use. Among them were magistrates, clerical 
and lay, with the old grand-jury grudge against him ; small farmers 
with rents overdue, who fancied they saw advantage 4x> themselves in 
his disadvantage; laborers to whom honest work was hateful, but 
eager for any amount of labor that was vicious or mischievous ; and 
(not least though last) attorneys sharp enough to turn to bitterness 
every hasty act or ill-considered word. Lander's chief pride, his 
plantations, supplied generally the ground of attack. His trees were 
uprooted, and his timber stolen ; and upon the rare occasions when 
offenders were caught, sympathizing magistrates admitted them to 
bail Against one desperate fellow he had to swear that he was in 
personal danger ; but though the magistrate who first heard the case 
directed the man's committal, ten pounds were subsequently thought 
bail sufficient to justify his release.* This fellow soon after drank him- 
self to death at Abergavenny ; and by the Mr. P. whose acquaintance 
has before been made by the reader, t Landor was accused of having 
caused his death : but the accuser was acquitted when Landor prose* 

* To the magistrate who accepted the ball, Mr. Richard Lewis, of Llandflo, Landor 
wrote: " The threat* were not such as any one who cared for me could hear without 
alarm. It was the conversation of the parish thai he had resolved to murder me. My 
wife, who heard this repeatedly from the servants, the tenants, and the workmen, was 
afraid to leave the house even for exercise. To quiet her alarms I at last swore the 
peace against him. That my own are not liable to be quite so easily excited. I am 
ready to prove before any man who has at once the baseness to traduce me, the impu- 
dence to affront me, and the spirit to meet me. I really do think, however, that the 
hazard of my life is worth more than the hazard of ten pounds." The closing sen- 
tences of the letter are too good to be lost: " Let me entreat of you, sir, to reconsider 

importance and self-delusion are strangers. But I do hope. 
and reputation, at least for your comfort and repose, that you will never in future court 
a transient popularity with the ignorant and the wicked at the expense of that lasting 
peace of mind which a conscientious discharge of your duties will impart, — at a period 
of life, too, when such feelings are most requisite, and such rewards most welcome." 
t In the letter to Baron Thompson, anU, p. 204. 



cuted him for slander. On the other hand, when one of Betham's 
brothers had been overheard to threaten that certain trees alleged to 
have been planted disadvantageously to his brother's farm should be 
removed, and Landor posted the fact in a handbill charging him by 
name as meditating felony and offering reward for his apprehension, 
the threatener recovered damages against Landor for libeL Another 
of the' brothers with sporting tastes had taken up with congenial as- 
sociates, of whom the most prominent was a notorious poacher, son of 
the keeper of the village alehouse ; and this party, according to Lan- 
dor, "with dogs of all descriptions and as many guns as they could pro- 
cure, sported over several of my farms, destroyed my game, and dined 
upon it at the alehouse afterwards." Out of this arose a third lawsuit, 
which ended in an apology ; and when, for the fourth time, Landor 
went into the court-house at Abergavenny to give evidence against a 
man upon trial for stealing property belonging to him, he protested 
that if he had been the thief in the dock he. could not have been 
treated worse than he was in the witness-box by the cross^xainining 

Of some of these and other kindred matters, apart from the 
graver suit in progress against the elder Betham, Southey appears to 
have inquired with great concern upon reading a paragraph in one of 
the Bristol papers. " I burst into a loud fit of laughter," was Lan- 
der's reply, " at hearing that I was likely to be made an outlaw. 
One Moseley, who had broken all the principal restrictions of his 
lease, and had even taken up and sold to one Fredericks of Crick- 
howel the new quick fences of his farm, moved me to pity by the 
number and greatness of his family ; and instead of recovering two 
or three hundred pounds damages, I gave that sum for his resigna- 
tion. Descury had bought oats, <fec, and even all his stock, at douhle 
the value. Near four years afterwards, during all which time his 
family wanted bread, he is persuaded by some of his friends to bring 
in a bill against me of £lft, although every bill was always paid in- 
stantly, and although a settlement was made for all demands on his 
quitting the estate. I received an impertinent note from Hugh 
Jones, his attorney at Abergavenny, in reply to which I stated the 
circumstances as above, and the utter improbability that I could be 
in his debt, or that so poor a man could permit it for such a length 
of time. The same Jones had incited a poacher to take a false oath 
against me, as the poacher declared to my servants in the presence of 
two respectable tenants. I reminded him of all this, and treated 
him as he deserved. He brought a criminal action against me. 
The grand jury of course brought in a true bilL Yet the fellow was 
ashamed, and proposed to accommodate the matter by the interven- 
tion of two arbiters. They decided that I should write an apology 
for what was unlawful, and prescribed the form. He afterwards 
refused to comply with their decision, which was contained in the 
form, and which stated that, the offence being of a private nature, 


the apology should not be made public. I shall be cited to take my 
trial at Monmouth ; and as I certainly shall not appear, I shall be 
outlawed. That is the meaning of the paragraph. Again, a fellow 
of most notoriously bad -character who has been tried for more than 
one crime, a fellow who collects the window-tax, was the friend of one 
Toombes who took a farm of me of £ 300 a year and never paid one 
farthing, but ran away and lived at Abergavenny, where he killed 
himself by drinking brandy ; and that tax-collecting fellow, merely 
to insult me, took occasion to come up to me and inquire aloud of a 
person with whom he was walking whether I was the person who 
murdered poor Toombes. He then followed me into the office of my 
attorney Mr. Gabb, and on my demanding of him whether he asked 
that question of me, he said, ' Yes,' and that his friend had answered 
in the affirmative. Well, I brought my action, as the magistrate, 
Mr. Powell, recommended. The jury were unanimously of opinion 
that he asked only for the sake of information, and found him not 
guilty. You perceive what chance 1 have of justice, and how subject 
1 am both to robbery and insult When the materials of my house 
were stolen, and when the thief ran away from the constable and hid 
(in a ditch) the wood which the constable was making him carry as 
evidence of his theft, I was treated by Mr. Taunton, his counsel, 
with much more violence than any criminal Our laws protect none 
but the guilty. I would not encounter the rudeness I experienced 
from this Taunton to save all the property I possess. I have how- 
ever chastised him in my Latin poetry now in the press. I heard - 
accidentally, from Mr. Hawkins of Pembroke College, a little anecdote 
which shall not be very soon forgotten of this fellow Taunton." 

That was his comfort, and not an inconsiderable one. He chas- 
tised Taunton (afterwards the judge) in Latin poetry, and, what was v 
more to the purpose, in such English as Swift might have written.* ^ 
Many are the passages in the " Epistle to a Barrister " worthy still 
of preservation, and now to be read, by such as have read the fore- 
going, with a proper understanding of their sarcasm and wit. 

" Two badger eyes has Themis; one 
Is always leering toward the throne; 
The other wanders this way, that way, 
Bat sees the gap and leaves the gateway. 

My sheep are flayed; the flayer bean 
The best of names, our vicar swears. 
And why reproach the mild divine? 
He loves his flock, his flock loves mine. 
My timber stolen, could I know 
Tne mark I made a month ago? 
My barns cleared out; my house burnt down; 
Gould the whole kiss exceed a crown ? 
Shame ! are such trifles worth my cares ? 
I ' m freed from rats and from repairs ! 
• . . . . 

* For a specimen of the Latin verse the reader may be referred to some Iambics 
u Ad Cansidicum," in the Pvemata el Itucrip&mes, p. 1$0. 

244 BATH, SPAIN, AND LLAtfTHONT. ***!£- 1? 

A year Is past: I beg my rent: 

I mutt mistake — that vf 03 not meant. 

I tarry on: two years elapse: 

The balance may he theirtpnkmjm 

For insolent requests like these, 

Their gentle hands uproot my trees ; 

While those, they told me hurt their grain, 

I fell, their gentle hands detain. • • • 

Of late a sort of suitor there is 

Who courts a horsewhip like an heiress. 

Kick him . . . not Midas would enrich, 

With surer stroke the flaccid breech; 

The blow above reiterate . . 

A broken head 'b a good estate; 

Add Swindler . . . and behold, next minute 

He 's out of jail, and you are in it 1 " 

Nor less terse and whimsical are the lines descriptive of Welsh 
witnesses and magistrates ; the " Dick Loose " being the Mr. Richard 
Lewis of Llandilo, who liberated on bail the man whom another 
magistrate had committed for threats of personal violence, 

** The land that rears sure-footed ponies 
Bears surer-footed testimonies, 
And every neighbor, stanch and true, 
Swears, and Golplcu her I what will do. 
Exclaim i A perjury P and vou libel . . . 
Each his own way may use his Bible, 
Else how is ours a freeborn nation. 
Or wherefor was the Reformation? 
If you demand your debts, beware, 
But, robbed, cry ' Bobber $! ' if you daref 
You only lost a farm of late. 
Stir, and you pay your whole estate: 
Expose their yilfanies, Dick Loom 
Will shudder at the gross abuse', 
Free them from prison on their bail. 
And pledge them in his mellowest ale. 

Here all but Innocence may trust, 
And all find Justice but the JusU" 

Landor had left Llanthony and was in his house in Bath when the 
action of libel which Mr. Frederick Betham had brought for the hand* 
bill was decided against him : and thereupon, in graver mood than 
that which had suggested the poetical attack on Mr. Taunton, he ad- 
dressed a letter to the plaintiff's counsel Mr. Jervis (afterwards the 
chief justice), by whose unscrupulous attack upon himself the case 
had mainly been decided ; and from whom he hoped by this means 
to elicit an expression of regret for the language he had used, failing 
which he told him he should consider him as a calumniator in what- 
ever spot upon the earth they might meet, except in the courts mis- 
called of justice " where calumny is sanctioned by custom, and insolence 
has the protection of the laws." From this letter, which he printed, 
a few brief passages will tell whatever else may need to be told of 
these painful matters ; and it is only just to my old friend that I 
should preface them with the manuscript note appended to the copy 
of the printed letter transmitted to Southey, who made himself in 

**• 30-39-] PRIVATE DISPUTES. 245 

consequence some inquiry into the case, and, friendly as he still con- 
tinued with several of the family of the Bethams, declared himself 
satisfied that these averments were true. 

In the course of the letter to Mr. Jervis it is stated that no land- 
lord had ever acted with greater kindness than he had done to the 
family which had so wronged him ; and it was to that remark the 
note following was made for Southey. 

" I thought it better to omit the numerous instances I had brought to my 
recollection, as the statement of grievances was long enough without any 
statement of ingratitude. 

u 1. I had given £ 200 for ornamenting the house beyond what I engaged 

" 2. I allowed timber for ploughs, carts, wagons, sheep-folds, <fcc., also 
beyond my engagement 

u 3. I gave a cottage and nearly an acre of land, to be added to the farm 
without rent> which cottage he offered for sale as his freehold. 

" 4. I offered another and a greater quantity of land to facilitate the ex- 
change of part of a field with a tenant of the manor, that some draining 
might be done at less expense. 

" 5. He had so little sense of delicacy as to apply repeatedly to my gar- 
dener to have my garden of between two and three acres. .To accommo- 
date him, I consented to exchange it, together with a nursery which he 
also wanted, for a less quantity of ground, above two hundred feet higher 
and much more exposed ; and as it was impossible to remove the trees 
from the nursery at that season of the year, and he expressed a strong 
desire to have the garden, I gave it up to him, and accepted no compensa- 
tion whatsoever. 1 did not accept^ nor did he ask me, any of the small 
quantity of land which was to be exchanged for it, until I could also give 
op the nursery. Yet he has the inconceivable baseness to state to the 
Court of Exchequer that I did not fulfil my agreement with him in this 
particular ! 

" 6. On hearing that the father was likely to occupy one of the farms, I 
offered him the next presentation to two livings. He never thanked me ! 
On my asking whether he was likely to reside in the parish, he coolly re- 
plied, ( he believed he was as well where he was.' I had afterwards reason 
to be of the same opinion. He admired a small picture at my house of 
trifling value, and I (rave it to him. He promised to send me a book he 
had written on the Baronetage of England, but forgot it. No differences 
at that time existed between his son and me, nor until several months after- 
wards. Mr. Lisle Bowles tells me of a letter which he wrote to the late 
Marquis of Lansdowne, in which he strongly urges his subscription to the 
Baronetage book with some cogent reasons for it from the character of the 
minister his father." 

From .the letter itself few extracts will suffice. Making all allow- 
ance for vivacity of statement, they give so startling a picture of 
what the life in these latter days at Llanthony must have been, that 
hut for what formerly has been said of the practical withdrawal of 
justice from the district, and of the condition of the lower orders of 
Welsh at that time, it might seem wholly incredible. Landor de- 
scribes the annoyances practised against him on system by the Be- 


" It was customary for this person, whom it appears I hare so traduced 
and disparaged, to stand upon a gate-post, with his brother, for the purpose 
of looking into my dining-room, and when I walked out, to thrust some 
notice into my hands or face : this he did in the presence of Mrs. Landor, 
after following us through our pleasure-grounds. He and some other of 
the most disorderly people in the parish surrounded the house after ten 
o'clock at night on such pretences, and some one attempted to force open 
the door. On another occasion he aimed a baronet at the wife of my 
gamekeeper. In consequence of these proceedings, which were varied 
erery day, neither I nor my family could reside any longer in the country. 
On the purchase and improrement of Llanthony I had laid out between 
sixty and serenty thousand pounds, and I employed for many years from 
twenty to thirty laborers in building and planting. I hare planted and 
fenced: half a million of trees : a million more are lost to the country by 
driving me from it I may speak of their utility, if I must not mention 
my own." 

A subsequent passage supplies further illustration : — 

" I had planted a great number of stocks for orchard ; they were of large 
size, and brought from. Hereford at considerable expense : he promised to 
preserve them, — they are all ruined ! I had planted many ornamental 
trees near the Abbey ; the fences were broken down at night, and my 
keeper forbidden to replace them ! I collected together some of the hewn 
ana ornamental stones belonging to the Abbey ; the Bethams came into my 
court-yard, and threw them into the road they were making. They took 
down a saw-pit on the waste ground opposite their house, which had been 
used in common by the tenants of the estate from beyond the memory of 
man ; they threw my timber into the road, and placed the posts of the saw- 
pit in direct view of my drawing-room and library windows, for the pur- 
pose, as they expressed themselves, of annoying me ; and they passed no 
inconsiderable portion of their time in looking through my windows from 
this place, which was within eighty yards. M 

Southey had professed little hope of Betham's farming from the 
first, but he declared himself not less dismayed than his friend at the 
picture here presented of it. 

" The one who rents under me told me on his first coming that he in- 
tended to lay out a capital of from £ 4.000 to £ 5.000 on the farm ; but he 
told Francis Bobbins a few weeks afterwards that if he had £4,000 he 
never would be a farmer. He promised to introduce the Suffolk husbandry, 
with an intelligent bailiff; and for the sake of this example, I consented to 
let him a farm within a few pounds of £ 1,000 per annum. He broke his 
promises to his bailiff, whom he induced to come into Monmouthshire with 
his wife and child, and who threatened soon afterwards, as many others 
have done for want of their wages being paid to them month after month, 
to come upon the parish. An old miller, a very industrious and honest 
man, was obliged to compromise or starve, and he had to consent to take a 
part only of the money for which he was engaged : others, when they 
applied for money, were referred to the devil with their wives and families, 
while these brothers had their two bottles of wine upon the table. As for 
the Suffolk system of agriculture, wheat was sown upon the last of May, 
and cabbages for winter food were planted in August or September." 




To these may be added the passage in which Lander stated his ex- 
cuses for the act which the law had pronounced to be a libel. 

" I considered the rooting up of my trees as a felony. I did not know 
that threatening to root them up lessened the orime, when a threat to injure 
any one, in general, is thought to aggravate it It was the opinion of Mr. 
Phillimore that this Betham should be prosecuted for a felony under the 
Black Act, and the Rev. Mr. Davies, of Court-y-gollen, a most intelligent 
and upright magistrate, declared that he would commit him whenever I 
could bring forth witnesses of the fact If I erred in my opinion as to the ex- 
tent of the crime, I erred in common both with a most discreet and excellent 
magistrate, and with a most dispassionate and learned counsellor. Yet you 
have had the insolence to declare in a court of justice that I acted unlike a 
man of honor and a gentleman; Was it not natural that a man who had 
planted more than half a million of trees, and who had double that number 
ready to plant, should take the most prompt and efficacious measures to de- 
tect and expose so wanton and criminal a destroyer ? When you assert 
that I condescended to become a bill-sticker, you again assert an untruth. 
The crime committed by Frederick Betham was distinguished from a felony 
by a very slight shade of difference : the error on my part was an error in 
law only, or rather in the nomenclature of law. No court could even have 
*taken cognizance of it, if the word felony had not been prefixed to the 
offer of reward." 

But the most impressive point made in the letter was at its close, 
when Landor, to illustrate the veracity of a statement' of his adver- 
saries that so far from having any claim upon them, he was actually 
in their debt, described dryly and without comment the result of the 
action for rent which he had brought against his defaulting tenant. 
" The Court of Exchequer has overruled the whole of their exceptions, 
dissolved the injunction, and awarded to me every farthing of my 
demand, to the amount of one thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight 
pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence." 

Such ii4teed was the decision of the Exchequer upon the leading 
matter in dispute. All the lesser differences sprang out of it, the 
life at Llanthony had been imbittered and broken up by it, and now 
one of the highest courts of the realm declared Landor's claim to be 
just. But the help this might have given opportunely came now 
\ too late. As he bitterly said on receiving it, " The laws that permit 
a man to be deprived of his property for two years may restore it to 
aim when it is worthless, — but better order him at once to be 
starved in an iron cage." The delays which his adversary had been 
permitted to interpose, and the facilities afforded him even after this 
verdict to intercept its immediate operation, were fatal to Landor. 
He had already quitted Llanthony, and was now making preparation 
to depart from England. 



In the middle of May, 1814, Landor had taken the resolution to 
fruit England, and on the 16th he communicated his intention to 


Southey. Writing from Swansea, he told him thai two conditions 
would regulate the exact time of' his going. When Mr. Jervis hod 
made up his mind whether or not to notice his letter ; and when the 
Oxford printers should have finished his Latin poems, of which the 
profits (if there should happen to be any) were to go to the sufferers 
of Leipzig ; he would remove from his country forever. 

His intention and its motive will be best described by himself: 
" I must borrow at fifteen per cent by annuity, as I have no other 
means, my estate being settled; and my property is worth £ 200 a year 
less, even if I get these fellows out. I expect to lose at least £ 2,000, 
besides the £ 200 a year and law expenses ; for they have squandered 
away whatever they had by marriage or otherwise. The sister has 
told innumerable falsehoods to Lady Beddingfield and others, but I 
trust the decree of the Court of Exchequer will sufficiently expose the 
principal one. I pray to God I may see you before I go abroad. I 
remain here ten days. I spend three weeks with my mother, part 
at Warwick, part at Ipsley Court near Redditch ; or, if the weather 
continues so cold as it is, all the time at Warwick. After that, 1 go 
to France. I am trying to sell my life interest in the Llanthony 
estate. If I get £ 30,000 I shall be contented. The purchaser, for 
about £ 3,000 more, might buy up the lifeholds, and make a clear 
income of £ 3,000 per annum." 

Southey had not replied to these painful tidings when the Wey- 
mouth post of the 27th May took him Landor's last letter from Eng- 
land, and with it more startling announcements. " Every hope of 
meeting you again in England has vanished. Pardon me if this is 
only the second of my wishes. My first is, that I may become by 
degrees indifferent to this country. The Court of Exchequer has de- 
cided in my favor; but Betham has been able to promise bail 
and a replevy, so that the ends of justice are defeated. Nearly 
three years' rent will be due before I can receive one farthing from 
him; and all my timber is spoiled. I shall be utterly ruined. 
Not being able to pay the interest of £ 10,000 debt on the Llanthony 
estate, the mortgagee will instantly seize on it until he has paid him- 
self the whole of the principal. The laws of England are made en- 
tirely for the protection of guilt. A creditor could imprison me for 
twenty pounds, while a man who owes me two thousand, and keeps 
me from the possession of two thousand more, can convert wealth and 
affluence into poverty and distress, — can, in short, drive me forever 
from my native country, and riot with impunity on the ruhiB of 
my estate. I had promised my mother to visit her. I never can hope 
to see her again. She is seventy-two, and her sorrow at my over- 
whelming and most unmerited misfortunes will too surely shorten 
her days. My wife, when she married, little thought she should 
leave all her friends to live in obscurity and perhaps in want. For 
my sake she refused one of the largest fortunes that any private gen- 
tleman possesses, and another person of distinguished rank. Who- 


ever comes near me is either unhappy or ungrateful* There is no 
act of forbearance or of kindness which Betham did not receive from 
me. His father saw, and knew perfectly, that his farming must ruin 
him. Yet, instead of persuading him to resign it, he sent the re- 
mainder, of his family to live with him, and to countenance him in 
all his violence and roguery. I go to-morrow to St. Malo. In what 
part of France I shall end my days, I know not, but there I shall 
end them ; and God grant that I may end them speedily, and so as 
to leave as little sorrow as possible to my friends. No time will 
alter my regard and veneration for you : nor shall anything lessen 
the kind sentiments you entertain for me. It is a great privilege 
to hold the hearts of the virtuous. If men in general knew how 
great it is, could they ever consent to abandon it 1 I am alone here. 
Mv wife follows me when I have found a place fit for he*r reception. 

To the first of these letters Southey, sending at the same time 
the close of the MSS. of Roderick, had replied before the second 
reached him, earnestly dissuading from the project of selling 
Llanthony, and advising that his friend should go abroad for a 
time only : not as an emigrant, but as a guest or stranger. " A few 
years might be pleasantly passed on the Continent, while your prop- 
erty is vested in England ; but not if you went with a purpose of 
not returning. My own intention is to take my  family abroad 
at the expiration of the first term of my lease if I can compass 
the means. The difference of living will probably balance the ex- 
pense of the journey, and my young ones will pick up languages 
while I enjoy a genial climate. But a few years, a very few, would 
suffice : for the older we grow the dearer those old times become 
which time has spared. I grant there is vexation enough in our 
laws ; but take it for all in all, there is no country in which a man 
lives with so little annoyance from the government." The rest of the 
letter was about Roderick and the death of Danvers.: "One of my 
oldest and dearest friends, at whose lodgings I first saw you. I 
loved him with my whole heart, and scarcely any loss could have 
▼ounded me so deeply." 

But though Southey wrote only one day later than his friend had 
last written to him, Landor was already gone* Two brief notes will 
tell their own story. 


14 Sir, — It is proper to inform you that two letters intended for my brother, 
Trith the Keswick postmark, are lying at Warwick. We are not aware that 
lie has any other correspondent in that neighborhood besides yourself. You 
will pardon me if it should be otherwise. My brother was indeed expected 
at Warwick. He is in France. I feel no hesitation in communicating what 
^e are anxious toxonceal from every other person, that he left this country 
under circumstances the most perplexing to nis family, and with feelings the 
most unhappy for himsel£ We cannot forward the letters in question be- 





cause we are ignorant of every other particular relating to him excepti 
his arrival. Hitherto we have waited in the expectation that we mig 
hear from him and learn his address. We do not return the letters becau 
we are by no means certain that they are from you, and because we s 
hope that they may be sent to France shortly. It is right however tha 
you should learn why they have not been answered, and that you should* 
have the power to determine in what manner we shall dispose of them. I' 
am, sir, with the greatest sincerity and respect, your obedient servant, Bob* 1 
kbt E. Landor. 

u Warwick, Monday, June 27, 1814." 


" Keswick, 4th July, 1814. 

" Sir, — The letters concerning which you have done me the favor to write 
are from me/ They contain parts of a long poem which I used to take 
pleasure in transcribing for your brother's perusal, and some attempts at 
dissuading him from a resolution which he had communicated to me of 
quitting England forever. A few days after they were despatched I 
received a letter from him from Weymouth, explaining the causes of his 
departure in a manner which I sincerely hope the natural warmth of his 
mind has made him overcharge. The whole affair has given me great 
uneasiness, and the more because I cannot but feel that I have been, very 
innocently, instrumental in it, having been the means of introducing Betham 
to him. May I request you to inform me of his address as soon as you are 
acquainted with it. I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient humble 
servant, Robert Southey." 

What happened in the interval of nearly three months before Southey 
again knew anything of his friend, it is not strictly incumbent on 
me here to tell ; but no pain can be caused by the brief description 
I shall give of it, and there are points of character involved that it 
may not be right to omit. Yet even so much reference to it will 
not be easy. Disagreements between husband and wife are very deli- 
cate to the touch ; and I have the example to encourage or deter me 
of the biographer of one of Landor's brother poets, who laid it 
down as an established truth that a man of the highest order of 
genius must in the unavoidable nature of things quarrel with his 
wife.* That however is hardly my view, and the facts will not carry 
off my hero so handsomely. It is rather to show that genius has no 
immunity from the conditions on which all kinds of happiness rest, 
that domestic differences springing solely from faults of temper are 
the subject .of passing mention here. 

Landor had gone first to Jersey ; and while staying at this place, 
where he was joined immediately by Mrs. Landor and one of her 
sisters, the expressed intention of taking up permanent abode in 
France led to frequent disagreement. The one, having made up his 
mind, could not bear that the matter should be talked of; the other, 
having equally made up her mind, could talk of nothing else ; and 
" A pleasant sort of thing truly, that you are never to be contra- 



* Moore's Uf* of Byron, passim. 


jet, 50—39.] DKPARTTJBB FBOM ENGLAND. 251 

dieted ! " was the usual and only reply to entreaties, repeated again 
and again, that she would not drive him to distraction. The usual 
charges and retorts succeeded ; the harsher followed the lighter 
word ; what, even while it provoked, had been attractive, became 
provoking without the attractiveness ; and at last, in the presence 
of the sister, such allusion was made to the . difference of years 
between them as Landor interpreted into deliberate insult, and re- 
solved thereupon to leave her. He was up at four o'clock the next 
morning, and before midday, having walked to the other part of the 
island, was sailing on board an oyster-boat for France. From Tours, 
on the 2d of October, he wrote and told Southey what had happened. 
He was ignorant then that his wife's elder sister had already writ- 
ten to acquaint him with his wife's extreme grief and very serious ill- • 
nesa ; but this is the subject of his next letter to his friend, written \ 
at the opening of 1815, in whioh he says that it had at once banished ' 
from his mind all traces of resentment, and that he had written in- 
stantly to comfort and console her. As soon as her health and the 
weather admitted of her joining him, he added, he was to meet her 
in England, where he should stay only two days ; and his closing 
assurance that Southey would receive his Latin poems in a fortnight 
has amusing confirmation in what one of his brothers soon after- 
wards wrote to his mother about this unhappy domestic dispute : 
" When we supposed him to be so miserable at Tours after parting 
with his wife, he was busy about a long Latin poem on the Death 
of Ulysses ! " 

The reader will now understand the allusions to the incident in 
the extracts that follow from letters to Southey. 


" How many sad events have crowded into a life already full and over- 
flowing with them, between the writing and the arrival of your letter I My 
brain seems to be heaving on an ocean of fire when I attempt to recollect 
what I would say. Julia nad long shown a disinclination to quit this coun- 
try, and hardly a day elapsed without some expression, more or less ener- 
getic, of her sentiments. I subdued my temper, — the worst beyond com- 
parison that ever man was cursed with, — remembering the rank and \ 
fortune she had refused . for my sake, and the content and moderation she \ 
had always preserved in the midst o£ privacy and seclusion. We had 
passed above a month at Jersey, and in another day were about to sail for 
France. Her little sister was with us." [The circumstances of the quarrel 
are then described : arising from an ordinary dispute, but imbjttered by the 
language which Mrs. Landor is alleged to have permitted herself to em- 
ploy.] " AH these things, with a thousand variations, both of anger and 
mockery, and all of them turning upon what she declared to have been her 
own fault in marrying such an old man, made her little sister burst into 
tears. Julia told her not to be such a fool as to cry ; that if she cried, it 
certainly should not be about me. I endured all this a full hour and a half 
without a syllable of reply; but every kind and tender sentiment was 
mooted up from my heart forever. . . . No woman could or ought to live with 


a man by whom each language was merited : nor could any man support 
life with a woman from whom it fell undeserved I remained broad awake, 
as I firmly believe, and yet I had <a succession of dreams, rapid, incoherent, 
and involuntary. I rose at four. I walked to the other part of the island, 
and embarked alone, on board of an oyster-boat, for France. It was this 
very day month. I am resolved to see her no more. I wish to have only 
£ 160 a year for myself. It is enough. I have neither wife nor family, nor 
house nor home, nor pursuit nor occupation. Every ^nan alive will blame 
me; many will calumniate me; and all will cherish and rejoice in the cal- 
umny. This is natural on all occasions, but more so here ; for who will 
believe that, where there are such smiles and spirits, there can be such an 
Itch for tormenting, such rudeness, such contradiction and obstinacy ? All 
that were not unjust to me before will be made unjust to me by her. A 
thousand times have I implored her not to drive me to distraction ; to be 
contented if I acknowledged myself in the wrong ; to permit me to be at 
once of her opinion, and not to think a conversation incomplete without a 
quarreL The usual reply was, ' A pleasant sort of thing truly, that you are 
never to be contradicted I ' As if it were extraordinary and 6trange that 
one should wish to avoid it She never was aware that more can be said 
in one minute than can be forgotten in a lifetime. For the sake of exer- 
cising her ingenuity and of improving my temper, she will cause me to die 
among strangers and probably in a madhouse. She gave me my first head- 
ache, which every irritation renews. It is an affection of the brain only, 
and it announces to me that my end will be the most miserable and the 
most humiliating. I wish I could acquire all the heartless profligacy of this 
people, — that I could be anything, good or bad, dead or alive, but what I 



" Never shall I spend so delightful an evening as when we met at the 
house of poor Mr. Danvers. I called on him twice, but never saw him after- 
wards. I shall think of his death many hours this night and envy it many 
in future. There is in the first of your letters — for botn have reached me 
together and but this morning — something that raises my hopes and gives 
me a glimpse of comfort : the idea that you will one day come into France. 
Do not forget to tell me in your next when is the expiration of the lease. 
The climate here is delicious. I cannot say much for either the town or 
country, which many travellers have admired. There is not one great or 
shady tree within view, even from the towers of the cathedral, and the 
river is full of sand-banks. These, and the poplars, give a sad paleness to 
the scene, which is covered too with square white walk and ragged vine- 
yards. Vines are sometimes pretty enough; but a vineyard is always ugly, 
I think, unless when it hides the nakedness of a hill destitute of form and 
grandeur. I live in a tower, with a large and shady garden, where I intend 
to be buried, if I die here. Adieu. May you enjoy all happiness, — as much 
as I have lostl or rather as much as I fancied I had found! " 


" There is more kindness in one sentence of your letter than I have re- 
ceived from all quarters of the world from my birth to the present hour. I 
have often thought of your happiness, and enjoyed a portion of it in the 
thought itself; but the tempest that drove me into France prohibits my re- 
turn, and the halcyons will never make their nests on the seas that I must 


*?• 50-39*1 DMPARTUBB FBOM ENGLAND. 253 


" I can lose nothing by outlawry. Whoever chooses to take any part of 
my property can only do what he could do before with the same impunity, 
I am told that all my woods and plantations are laid waste ; three hundred 
thousand trees are lost> — but not to me ; nor have I room for any more 
vexations. It is not improbable that in the spring I shall go into the north 
of Italy, for this place begins to be infested with English : they reckon near 
two hundred. But if ever you come on the Continent, I will come near 
you ; it will make me wiser, better, and happier. I do not believe that any 
lake in the universe is equal to yours. I wait some attainable image of it 
I shall see the lake di Como : but I shall never say on its banks, as Catullus 

1 quid solutis est beatius curis 
Cum mens onus reponiL' " 


"Not long after I received your last letter, I received one from the sister 
of my wife, dated so early as the middle of September. It acquainted me 
with her extreme griet, and of an illness which threatened to be fatal. This 
banished from my mind all traces of resentment, and I wrote instantly to 
comfort and console her. My own fear is, that I shall never be able to keep 
my promise in its full extent, to forgive humiliating and insulting language. 
Certainly I shall never be so happy as I was before ; that is beyond all 
question. If there is a pleasure in pardoning, there is a proportionate pain 
in doubting whether we possess the power. Julia has not yet recovered 
her health entirely, but expresses a wish to ioin me. Whenever the 
weather is a little milder, I shall meet her in England, where I shall not re- 
main longer than two days." 


u You will receive my Latin poems in about a fortnight I took extreme 
care, as I fancied, to correct the press: yet I discover, in a copy just now 
sent me, some odious and most stupid misprints. I cannot help thinking that 
the fellow has employed a blockhead to correct the press after me for the sake 
of greater security. Happily they are of such a nature that the most malev- 
olent cannot attribute them to me. There are not less than six or eight 

u I have addressed one of my Latin poems to you : — 

Suo vetas asserait laurea vate deeus 
empe chorus primam tibi, Suthei, detulit omnia, 
Invidiaeque ungues peotore vulsit amor. 

I have hazarded, or rather more than hazarded, a lie in the last line ; but i{ 
is die province of eloquence, in all kinds, to say non quod sit, sed quod de- 
feat esse. The concluding verses of this short piece contain a thought which 
I afterwards paraphrased : — 

Mild is the parting year, and sweet 

The odor of the falling spray; 
Life passes on more rudely fleet, 

And balmless is its closing day/* 


" I have dedicated the volume to Parr, in a very short dedication ; that 
is, about four pages of fourteen or sixteen lines each. I mention his hospi- 

254 BATH, SPAIN, Aim LLAOTHONY. ^-li"" 

tality and kindness of heart as my reason. There is also another. People 
attempted to persuade him — for he is credulous — that I wrote a satirical 
poem on him and his acquaintance.* The appearance of this satire gave 
me great uneasiness . . . and I could only assure Parr that I never lost my 
respect or my regard for him ; that I owed to him a great deal of what I 
knew ; and that I had spent some of my most joyous hours at Hatton. If 

you had not mentioned to me that the poem was attributed to , I should 

perhaps have closed my lips on the subject^ even to you ; though there is a 
difference between communicating a fact and divulging a secret Parr be- 
lieved me instantly. Strange inconsistency ! to fancy that I could be guilty 
of exposing a friend to ridicule, yet to reject all suspicion that I could utter 
a falsehood. As if the latter were the greater baseness ! Of all the others 
that came under the lash, G-reathead is the only one I would have exempted. 
He is fantastical, conceited, and pompous ; but he is good-humored and be- 
neficent In my opinion the foibles of such a character should not be dwelt 
upon. It will not do to pretend that the attack is made purely against bad 
taste. The worst taste of all resides in that busybody rashness which 
knocks off the noses of the charities in its alacrity to sweep the cobweb. 
The weather here is so bitterly cold that the archbishop can no longer 
amuse himself among the little girls of Paris, and the weathercock of the 
cathedral is too slippery for the jackdaws. Adieu." 

To that letter Southey replied on the 5th of February, loud in 
pleasure at the reconciliation, and encouraging his friend not to 
doubt but that he would be able to keep his promise, and be the 
happier for keeping it. He bids him also not forget that Tours holds 
the grave of Konsard, who would have been a great poet if he had 
had not been a Frenchman. " But poetry of the higher order is as 
impossible in that curst language as it is in Chinese." For himself 
he is climbing trees in the Hesperides still ; and though not without 
the graver feelings uttered in Landor's quatrain,t he is convinced 
they will both be the better for believing that the decline of life has 
also delights of its own, autumnal odors and sunset hues. The let- 
ter closes with the hope that they may meet somewhere on the Con- 
tinent before another autumn is gone : but not many weeks were 
gone before the hope began to look desperate, and Napoleon was 
again in the Tuileries when Landor replied. Nevertheless this had 
found him prepared. War or no war, he would not return to the 
country that had cast him out, by refasing to his property the pro- 
tection of its laws. He thought Bonaparte's government not unlikely 
now to last, and he had obtained leave from it to continue resident in 
France. That it was not his intention to return to England, and 

* This is noticed ante, pp. 194, 195. I subjoin an allusion to Parr from another of 
Landor's letters of this date. " He treated me with all the kindness I could hart 
wished in a father, and invited me to live in his house. Yet we never quite agreed on 
politics. I was the only person who could, without bringing down a tempest on hit 
head, attack his friend Fox." 

f Which appeared in his collected poems with this addition :— 

u I wait its close, I court its gloom, 

But mourn that never mnot there fall 
Or on mv breast or on mv tomb 
The tear that would have soothed it all." 


that he had every disposition to prefer the empire to the government 
it had so suddenly displaced, he told his friend in this letter. 


" An Englishman is returning, who will convey a letter from me, an op- 
portunity which perhaps may not occur again for some years. I have 
applied to Fouche" for permission to remain in France, and he has granted 
it Whether oar countrymen in general will be molested or not depends, I 
presume, in great measure on the future conduct of our government I should 
rather have said, of your government ; for with me they have nothing more 
to do than to despoil me of my property to support their stupendous folly. 
What has happened was quite certain to happen from the beginning. 
Can anything be more clear than the prediction of Calvus?* The aliena- . 
tion, or rather the perfect indifference of the people, arose from a paper in 
the Journal dee Debate on the possibility of renewing the tithes. The Jour- 
nal des Debuts was perhaps the best-written paper that ever appeared in 
Europe, and was devoted to the old monarchy. It was read in every coffee- 
house. Now certainly a government which could permit, without disavow- 
ing it formally and by proclamation, so horrible a report to spread and 
propagate, deserves annihilation. All the oppressions France ever suffered 
are light in comparison with tithes. Where they already exist, purchasers 
and proprietors of land endure them as known contingencies, as bad air, 
as the dry-rot, <fec. But who, when he had repaired his house, would per- 
mit any man to infect it again with either the one or the other ? The 
French laws, if they are observed, are incomparably better than ours, which 
are calculated only for the rich and the orafty. A man in France cannot be 
ruined by pursuing his rights. In England he unquestionably may. This 
reduces the debatable ground to an inch in extent, and proves my assertion 
at once." 

Two more months however again unsettled everything, and greatly 
weakened in Landor the desire to continue a French citizen. 

* See ante, pp. 280, 281. 



1815~18fil. .St. 40-46. 


I. From Tours to Milan.— IL At Como. — IIL At Pisa.— rfr. At Pistoia.— 
V. Again at Pisa. — VI. On the Way to Florence. — VIL — Retrospect and 
Prospect : a new Literary Undertaking. 


The intention of remaining in France survived Waterloo but a lit- 
tle while, and with the second Bourbon restoration Landor resolved 
upon quitting Tours. But any return to England being for the pres- 
ent impossible, he now thought of Italy for his home. 

What had been 'his homes in Llanthony and Bath were now no 
longer his. His personal property had been sold in both places, and 
the management of his real estate had been taken out of his hands. 
It was a sad time. The Llanthony vision was over. No more possi- 
bility now of what once had been his dream, to rebuild the abbey as 
a princely mansion ; no more chance of seeing in its plantations the 
two or three million trees which with a desperate fidelity his fancy 
and his hopes had made almost real ; and though his new roads were 
to survive him as they do even yet, too surely had the doom already 
been pronounced against whatever else lie would have associated with 
his name at Llanthony. Before' his house had well been inhabited 
his new trustees had ordered it to be taken down ; but a few months 
earlier a flood had carried away the bridge he built ; and whatever 
beside he valued had as ruthlessly since been swept away by a public 
sale. " I have here in my rectory," writes Mr. Robert Landor, " a 
Titian valued at twelve hundred guineas which my brother Henry 
purchased at the auction for ten pounds." It needs not to dwell fur- 
ther on these things. 

As to his real estate he was happily more fortunate. By the an- 
nuity reserved under the act of Parliament to his mother, she became 
the first of his creditors ; and being enabled to demand the manage- 
ment of Llanthony, she set apart from it for his use five hundred ft 
year on condition that the money so advanced should be repaid to 
her younger children whenever by her death the estate at Ipsley 
should fall into his hands. Her life was prolonged for fourteen years, 
during which she had thus paid to him seven thousand pounds ; and 
what was held to be a sufficient provision having accrued in the 

.CT. 40-46.] VBOX TOURS TO MILAN. 257 

same interval to the younger children, partly by her economy and 
partly by the bequests of other relatives, shortly before her death, 
with the entire concurrence of those other children, the above-named 
condition was abandoned and Llanthony released from that encum- 
brance. To this it will be only necessary to add that irrespective of. 
all these arrangements there were simple contract debts unsettled 
which rendered for the present unadvisable not only any return to 
England, but even a continued residence at Tours ; and Mr. Robert 
Landor, having at the time a project to visit Italy, at his brother's 
earnest request joined him at Tours that they might make the jour- 
ney together. 

Lander's stay in the hospitable old French town, not then so over- 
ran with English as in later days, had been not without many enjoy- 
ments ; for the ease with which at will he put off from his thoughts 
whatever troubled or harassed him, the old characteristic well 
known to his family, surprised even his brother when they met so 
soon after the tragedy of Llanthony. I have heard the latter, in re- 
lating their first visit together to the quaint old market-place with 
its splendid fountain where Walter had been in the habit of doing 
His own marketing daily during his exile, describe the joyous greeting 
that broke forth from all the market-women successively as he came 
in view, and his laughing word of jest or compliment for each that 
bad given him universal popularity. The prefet of the town, next to 
the market-women, he seems to have regarded with most favor ; it 
was the same who (I believe erroneously) was reported to have given 
brief refuge to Napoleon in his recent flight to the English coast ; 
and it was always Landor's belief that he had seen the fugitive em* 
peror dismount in the court-yard of the prefet's house in one of the 
suburbs, to which he had himself gone, finding the door unexpectedly 
closed to him, upon the very day when Napoleon was supposed to 
bare passed through Tours. 

In September the brothers started for Italy, and by means of a 
letter addressed in the following month to their mother by the 
younger of them I learn some of the incidents of their journey. 
Here are its opening sentences : " Walter wished very much to leave 
Tours on many accounts ; amongst others, on account of its un- 
bealthiness, the probability of fresh revolutions, and some personal 
apprehensions about his English creditors. I wished to see Italy; 
and as he pressed it most earnestly, and indeed could not travel 
without me, I agreed to accompany him. After contests with his 
landlady of a most tremendous description, we set off. Walter had 
kept his own carriage in all his distresses, and as posting was the 
cheapest thing in France, we posted : Walter and myself on the 
dicky, his wife and her maid within. Our road lay on the eastern 
Bide of the river Loire for more than two hundred miles. This side 
*&& occupied by the German troops, and the other by the French. 
Thus we passed, between Tours and Lyons, a distance of four hmv 


258 F1BST SIX TEARS IN ITALY. **!£££'• 

cfred miles, through 200,000 men, — Austrians, Prussians, Bavarians, 
Wirtembergers, Hessians. At Moulins the Prince of Hesse with all 
his staff was at the same hotel ; and amused himself, whilst we were 
at supper, by standing with another officer at the door of our room 
and looking at Walter's wife. I ordered the door to be shut in his 
face. As this was done by an Englishman, he only laughed. If it 
had been done by a Frenchman or a German, there would have been 
no laughing on either side." 

. The acres of vineyards seen by them on the banks of the Loire, 
Landor himself would often refer to with enthusiasm as not number- 
ing less than hundreds of thousands ; and as they passed, he told 
me, he could not but remember Goldsmith and his flute ; though the 
scene otherwise was unlike the poet's pastoral picture, for along the 
rocky parts of the shore they observed, miles together, the people 
making their homes in the rock. The towns on the route were dirty 
and ill-built as Lyons itself ; but for the last half of the distance, the 
two hundred miles nearest that second city of France, they found 
the scenery liker their own than anywhere else, saw enclosures of 
quick with timber in the fences, rich and well-cultivated land, and 
ypung wheat much forwarder than in England. " It was from the 
bridge of Lyons we first saw the Alps, extending immediately in our 
front to a great distance. They were covered with snow half-way 
from the summits. It was about twenty miles from Lyons that one 
of* our wheels broke for the third time, and we were detained more 
than a day. At last however we proceeded towards Chambery, the 
capital of Savoy, and passed through a most enchanting and roman- 
tic country, — rocks, woods, vineyards, and the finest passes.' 1 What 
the letter proceeds to tell of their first impression of Italy, destined 
to be the home of one of them for more than twenty years and after 
another thirty years his final resting-place, is told with much reality 
and vividness. At first, it will be seen, Landor meant to have fixed 
his quarters at Chambery ; but he made wiser ultimate choice of the 
Lake of Como. 


" Walter had hitherto intended to stop at Chambery and live there ; but 
he was too restless. Nothing can be more delightful or romantic than the 
country about Chambery ; and there are a great many pleasant houses 
situated at some distance from the town. The town itself is bad, and the 
eternal passage of Austrian troops made it disagreeable. Here we agreed 
with a voiturier ; a man who undertakes to conduct you with his horses 
and carriages to any given distance for a certain sum, and to pay for your 
eating, drinking, and lodging. Walter gave him his carriage on condition 
that he would carry him free of expense first to Milan and afterwards to 
Como, twenty-five miles farther, where the Princess of Wales resides, I 
do not think that the bargain was a bad one for Walter, as his carriage was 
no longer serviceable in its present state. I gave eighteen louis d or, or 
guineas, a little more than the common price, to be carried as far as Rome. 
From Chambery we travelled along level roads between the most magnifi- 
cent mountains. Many were covered with snow. These are the lowest 

*T. 40-4&] ™>* TOUB8 TO MILAN. 259 

lips. We rested four nights at miserable inns, and then passed Mount 
Cenis, one of the highest Alps, where a road was cut by Bonaparte which 
is considered the most wonderful in the World. It is not very steep in, any 
part, but runs backwards and forwards up the side of the mountain. We 
had been rising very greatly for four days before we reached the foot of 
Mount Cenis, and it took as many hours to get up the side. But the 
other side, wnen we descended, was infinitely more grand and beautiful. 
It was indeed sublime. We looked down into Italy from above the clouds ; 
and when we had travelled more than two hours we passed among vast 
woods of the grandest chestnuts for two more to the bottom. The wagons 
of the Austrian army were descending at the same time. It is the Italian 
side of these Alps that is far the finest We reached Turin, the capital of 
Piedmont, two days after, — a fine town, with many large palaces. On one 
side there is a range of beautiful hills, which would be called mountains in 
England, covered with woods, palaces, country-houses, churches, and con- 
vents ; on the other the Alps, which do not appear to be ten miles off, though 
they are thirty or forty, covered with ice and snow, and formed more beau- 
tifully than any painter in the world could imagine. The streets of Turin 
are all straight ; and from some of them you see the hills which I have 
described when looking one way, and the Alps when looking the other. 
Three days more brought us to Milan, a great, ill-built, ugly town with a 
wonderful cathedral, the capital of Lombardy. Walter and his wife set off 
almost immediately for Como, and would arrive the same night I wait 
til] the carriage returns which took them, and in two days more shall set 
off again for Florence and Rome." 

Of the small and great discomforts, and their trials of temper, in- 
cident te such a twenty days' journey over the seven hundred miles 
separating Milan from Tours, the son's letter told also something that 
the mother might be glad to hear, and, so far as there are touches of 
character, my readers too ; but it must be read with allowances. If 
Mr. Robert Landor did not spare himself, of .his brother he was quite 
as unsparing ; and, with a very humane and proper chivalry which 
need not now be construed with excessive strictness, all his sympathy 
and all his pity were reserved for the pretty little wife. To an ob- 
server so generous as well as just, her advantages of sex as well as of 
youth and beauty were indeed very great ; but though prepared for 
Walter's " ten thousand " fits of temper, it is a little startling, after 
the incident at Jersey, to find Walter's wife never giving way to even 
one. " He is seldom out of a passion or a sulky fit excepting at din- 
ner, when 1 he is more boisterous and good-humored than ever. Then 
his wife is a darling, a beauty, an angel, and a bird. But for just 
as little reason the next morning she is a fool. She is certainly gen- 
tle, patient, and submissive. She takes all the trouble, is indeed too 
officious, and would walk on foot most willingly if he wished it and 
she were able. If he loses his keys, his purse, or his pocket-handker- 
chief, which he does ten times in an hour, she is to be blamed ; and 
she takes it all very quietly," Perhaps one might have said too 
quietly. There is such a thing as an ostentatious meekness, or, as 
the poor bad-tempered husband in the play puts it, a " malign excess 
of undemanded patience." Nor is it difficult to discover that the fits 



[Book iv. 


of passion, on the other side, were rather of the lambent and phos- 
phorescent than of a scorching or consuming kind. " If he is ever 
really unhappy, it is because the cook has put oil or garlic into the 
soup. Give him a good dinner well cooked, and he is happier than 
an emperor. He writes and reads all the day besides. As for his 
creditors, he cares no more about them or his own concerns than 
about Bonaparte's. He has plenty of money for this country ; lives 
as well as ever he did in his life ; and at Tours had even saved five- 
and-thirty pounds. He has one entire quarter in his banker's hands 
at present, after travelling so far. 9 ' 

Again, on the 10th of December in the same" year, being then at 
Borne, Mr. Robert Landor wrote to his mother that he had heard from 
Walter at Como; that he found it expensive, was dissatisfied with it, and 
talked of going farther east ; but that he had himself written to dis- 
suade this, at least for the present. " He has seen nothing of Italy, 
and yet he swears that it contains nothing worth seeing. Every place 
is the worst" From Rome the writer had moved to Naples in April, 
1816 ; and in a letter of the 26th of that month to their Bister Eliza- 
beth he tells her that Walter had written in the last week from Como, 
and seemed just then very tranquil and comfortable, but that for 
himself he would as soon trust to Vesuvius. Finally, having mean- 
while paid a visit himself to Como, he writes thus again to that sister 
from Venice on the 24th of June : " At Como I found Walter and his 
wife in comfortable apartments, or rather in a comfortable* house. 
But they had lost their English maid, whose misconduct in leaving, 
and depravity after having left* were not the least part of the griev- 
ance. Julia lookB thin, but not pale ; talks much of dying, and of 
returning to Bath, preferring the latter a little ; and amuses herself 
in learning the very worst Italian from the old cook, who is quite 
unintelligible to Walter and everybody else. Walter is much as usual ; 
that is, in very unequal spirits ; fretful, gloomy, absent, and very 
gay by turns. Unfortunately the latter is not frequent, and I be- 
lieve that I saw him to the greatest advantage. The lake is charm- 
ing. The M s joined me at Como, and liked Walter and his wife 

very well." 

At Como Landor lived three years; and three more wandering 
years he passed, between Pisa and Pistoia, before he pitched his tent 
in Florence in 1821. Between the home he had lost in England and 
that which he thus found in Italy, this interval, measured even by 
fhe general driftless character of his life and ways, was so entirely 
unsettled, that it is not my intention to dwell upon it at any length. 
It will suffice if I indicate, by passages from his correspondence in these 
various places of abode, the subjects that from time to time occupied 
or interested him, and the manner in which his life was passed. My 
own comments will be very sparing. 

JCT. 4O-46.] AT 00*0, - 261 

n. AT COMO. 

The first letter written to Southey from Italy miscarried; and 
when again, in the June of 1816, Landor wrote to him, he had heard 
nothing from Keswick since leaving Tours, 


" About three months ago a sort of pedler was going from Como to Eng- 
land, and I fancied I had an opportunity of sending you a letter by him. 
But I discovered that they are narrowly searched by the custom-house 
officers, and letters taken away from them and destroyed. I was disap- 
pointed, and he was more so ; for I told him my letter was for the poet 
laureate of England, and to remove all incredulity wrote the address in 
that manner. X sent it, however, by the post." 


" My youngest brother, who has been at Rome and Naples, and indeed 
in all the other celebrated places of Italy, is now on his return, and will put 
this into some English post-office. He appeared to admire the character of 
the present Romans, though he carried with him many and strong preju- 
dices against them. He represents them as sedate and silent, delicate and 
disinterested, brave and adorers of liberty. He was disappointed in all 
their ancient buildings, and thinks nearly a& the modern extremely desti- 
tute of good taste. He prefers a picture of Theseus on one of the walls of 
Pompeii to even the best of Raffael, and indeed to any work of art he has 
ever seen except the Apollo Belvidere, and is convinced that the ancient 
painters were as much superior to the modern as the ancient statuaries." 


" We often talk of you. I wish to G-od I could exchange the Lake of 
Como for the Lake of Keswick, just one evening. I know nothing of what 
passes either in the political or literary world. To be deprived of reading 
your works, and of seeing you for so many years, is in6nitely the greatest 
loss I sustain in losing my country. I have engaged my house for a year 
and a half. I wish there was any hope of your coming into Italy. We 
have two spare rooms and one spare bed, the cleanest on this side of the 
Channel, and at Milan they make butter." 


" At Como we have been exempt from the — of the Princess of 
Wales for a considerable time. I think I told you that her scudiere was 
postilion to Pino, a deserter from the Austrian service. He has now pur- 
chased an estate for 200,000 florins and his wife keeps her carriage and is 
allowed 15,000 florins a year. His brother is maggiordorno to the princess, 
and rides out covered with gold lace and accompanied by her servants. 
These rascals have kept her so poor that she has not yet been able to furnish 
her rooms. Is it not scandalous that the money of England should be 
squandered away on the most worthless wretches in Italy, when the most 
industrious men in England want bread ? If we had one honest man in 
Parliament) would not some sort of notice be taken of it ? Above all it 

262 - FIRST 8IX TEABS IN ITALY. *%£•* " 


surprises me that the prince does not divorce her. . . . Lady Cumming, 
daughter of Lady Charlotte Campbell, went over to visit the princess. 
She saw her in the midst of the lake with her scudiere, whose arm was 
round her waist Instead of returning, they proceeded to the house, 
where they found the prefet of Como, and soon afterwards the princess 
entered. In a few minutes the scudiere came swaggering in, made a 
slight bow to them, took no notice of the princess, but said to the prefet, 
'Snail we see you at dinner?] The princess then invited him, and he 
stayed. As Lady C. had remembered nim a footman under the princess, 
and now recognized him to be the person whose arm was round her 
waist she took her leave. These rascals make a point of insulting all 
the English." 

He had himself suffered from such insults, as he fancied, taking to 
himself what had probably no reference to him ; and his present infor- 
mation was to be accepted with much more caution than in the cir- 
cumstances was likely to be given to it. It will appear hereafter that 
it was turned to immediate use. That any use would be made of it 
at all he does not seem to have imagined, and some sentences in this 
portion of the letter I am obliged to suppress. 

It will be best so to deal also with its burst of anger against Mr. 
Munday of Oxford, for misprints in the Idyllia and for not sending the 
volume to his friends ; nor will the reader regret to lose its three-tind- 
thirty scathing Latin lines against Ferdinand of Spain, just written 
for the cenotaph of Porlier, which he implored Southey to make pub- 
lic in the Courier with the name of the writer, as he wished to circu- 
late them on the Continent as widely as he could. 

Still Southey did not reply, and for many more months there was 
a silence incomprehensible to his friend. It had been a year of great 
trouble at Keswick. The heaviest affliction of Southey's life, the loss 
of his (then only) son, had fallen upon him in the spring of 1816; 
and in the following spring occurred the greatest vexation of his life, 
the publication from a stolen manuscript of his youthful drama of 
Wat Tyler, and the chancellor's (not very logical) refusal to restrain 
its sale, because of the injury it was calculated to do to society. To 
this troubled interval of silence on Southey's part belongs a letter 
characteristic of Landor in his best mood : sensitive and self-distrust- 
ful, but loyal to his friend ; in the manliest vein of sympathy ; and, 
though full of sorrow, nay, by reason of it, nobly consolatory. 

"I have written many letters to you since I received one from you. 
Can anything occur that ought to interrupt our friendship? Believe me, 
Southey, — and of all men living I will be the very last to deceive or to 
flatter you, — I have never one moment ceased to love and revere you, as 
the most amiable and best of mortals, and your fame has always been as 
precious to me as it could ever be to yourself. If you believe me capable, 
as you must, of doing anything to displease you, tefi it me frankly and fully. 
Should my reply be unsatisfactory, it will not be too late nor too soon to 
shake me off from all pretensions to your friendship. Tell it me rapier 
while your resentment is warm than afterwards, for in the midst of resent- 
ment the heart is open to generous and tender sentiments; it closes after- 

JET. 40-46.] AT OOMO. 26$ 

wards. I heard with inexpressible grief of your most severe and irrepa- 
rable loss, long indeed ago ; but even if I had been with you at the time. I 
should have been silent If your feelings are like mine, of all cruelties 
those are the most intolerable that come under the name of condolence and 
consolation. Surely to be told that we ought not to grieve is among the 
worst bitternesses of grief The best of fathers and of husbands is not 
always to derive perfect happiness from being so ; and genius and wisdom, 
instead of exempting a man from all human sufferings, leave him exposed 
to all of them, and add many of their own. Whatever creature told me 
that his reason had subdued his feelings, to him I should only reply that 
mine had subdued my regard for him. But occupations and duties fill up 
the tempestuous vacancy of the soul ; affliction is converted to sorrow, and 
sorrow to tenderness; at last the revolution is completed, and love returns 
in its pristine but incorruptible form. More blessings are still remaining to 
you than to any man living. In that which is the most delightful of all 
literary occupations, at how immense a distance are you from every rival or 
competitor! In history, what information are you capable of giving to 
those even who are esteemed the most learned ! And those who consult 
your criticisms do not consult them to find, as in others, with what feathers 
the most barbarous ignorance tricks out its nakedness, or with what gypsy 
shuffling and arrant slang detected impostures are defended. On this sad 
occasion I have no reluctance to remind you of your eminent gifts. In 
return I ask from you a more perfect knowledge of myself than I yet pos- 
sess. Conscious that I have done nothing very wrong, I almost hope that 
I have done something not quite right, that I may never think you have 
been unjust towards me. W. L." 

With more than .the old affection Southey at once replied ; ex- 
plained now his recent silence by uncertainty as to a visit into Italy 
he had resolved himself to make ; and hoped they would shortly 
meet At Como they met accordingly at the end of June, 1817 ; and » 
Southey stayed with his friend three days. In the poem already/ 
quoted* for its mention of the visit to Llanthony, there is record of / 
this visit also. 

* See ante, p. 199. I will add some lines from a later poem, A Dream of the Elyslan 
Field*, in which his friend appears to him " the genial voice and radiant eye un- 
altered, and they speak of their past days together: — 

u< Idonotask,' 
Said I, * about your happiness ; I see 
The same serenity as when we walkt 
Along the downs of Clifton. Fifty yean 
Have rolled behind us since that summer-tide, 
Nor thirty fewer since along the lake , 
Of Lario, to Bellaggio villa-crowned, 
Through the crisp waves I urged ray sideling bark, 
Amid sweet salutation off the shore 
From lordly Milan's proudly courteous dames.' 
' Landor! I well remember it,' said he; 
4 1 had just lost my first-born onlv boy, 
And then the heart is tender; lightest things 
Sink into it and dwell there evermore.' 

The words were not yet spoken when the air 
Blew balmier; and around the parent's neck 
An angel threw his arms : it was that son. 

Father, I felt you wisht me,' said the boy; 

Behold me here!' 

Gentle the sire's embrace, 


" War had paused: the Loire 
Invited me. Again bunt forth fierce War. 
I minded not his fnry : there I staved, 
Sole of mvoountmnen. and foes abstained 

iThougn sore and bleeding) from my house alone, 
tut female fear impelled me past the Alps, 
Where, loveliest of all lakes, the Lario sleeps 
Under the walls of Como. 

There he came 
Main to see me; there again our walks 
We recommenced . . . less pleasant than before. 
Grief had swept over him; days darkened round: 
Bellagpio, Valintelvi, smiled in vain, 
And Monte Rosa from Helvetia far 
Advanced to meet as, wild in majesty 
Above the glittering crests of giant sons 
Stationed around ... in vain too! all in vain I " 

Nay, not wholly bo ; for it appears from what Southey wrote of his 
journey home, immediately on his return, that these and other shapes 
of beauty had made so far successful appeal to him as even to shake 
for a time his allegiance to his native lakes and mountains. 



"Our journey home was as prosperous as we could desire. The Lake of 
Lugano seemed to exceed the Lario in variety and in beauty ; and the Mag- 
giore, where we crost it to exceed both : but probably in such scenery that 
which is present must always obtain the preference. The Isola Bella is at 
once the most costly and the most absurd effort of bad taste that ever has 
been produced by wealth and extravagance. What you had been told of 
the hissing of serpents in the vaults proved to be the noise of the bats, who 
have taken possession of the ground-tier in this ridiculous place. We saw 
them in great numbers flying m and out. Taking all things into considera- 
tion, I should prefer the neighborhood of Lausanne to any place on the Con- 
tinent which 1 have seen for a residence. The loveliest places which we 
saw were the little tract between the Lakes of Thun and Brientz } and the 
Lake and Valley of Lingera, than which the heart of man could desire 
nothing lovelier. On my return Bkiddaw did not appear to have lost any- 
thing in magnitude, — the mountains around the lake had ; and I perceived 
a poverty and coldness in the valley : this however wore off in a few days, 
and Keswick is now as beautiful as ever." 

When the friends met at Como their talk had been much of poetry ; 
of what they were fain to think the very doubtful chances of duration j 
to the then raging popularity of Byron ; and of the advance made by j 
Wordsworth in his last great poem. To these matters Southey refers : 
in that letter of September, telling Landor that he had already de- 
spatched to him, along with his own History of Brazil and other books, 
not only Wordsworth's collected edition, but both his great poems 
published separately during the two last years, the Excursion and the 
WkUe Doe. At the close of the same letter also, with much less than 

Gentle his tone. * See here yonr father's friend I ' 
He gazed into my nice, then meekly said: 
' He whom my father loves hath his reward 
On earth; a richer one awaits him here. 1 " 

JET, 4O-46.] 



hk usual discrimination of passing events in those regions, he had 
spoken of the " ill-judged attempt at revolution " in Brazil, which ho 
believed to have failed, and had expressed an opinion not only against 
the revolutionary governments in South America, but in favor of the 
probability of Russia joining Spain to put them down : " both powers 
equally regarding the Yankee Americans (we must not call them 
Anglo-Americans) as interlopers on that coast" In England he had 
found at his return little to relieve the generally black and dreary 
outlook, the Watson and Thistlewood trials having just ended in ver- 
dicts of acquittal : but there had been a good harvest, and " though the 
seditious press is as active as ever, the poison which it administers 
does not operate with the same effect upon a full stomach as upon an 
empty one." Upon all which subjects Landor will be found himself 
to have something to say. 

One letter, bearing date the last day of August, he had already 
written since his friend's visit ; and the verses which close it, and 
which have not been preserved elsewhere, show something of the ef- 
fect upon the writer of what he had doubtless heard from Southey of 
his Wat Tyler and other feuds. The bitterest of the Byron quarrels 
had not yet broken out ; but of all the Quarterly reviewers he who 
had been the most resolute and unsparing in striking at reform and 
reformers, remembering past days and his own fierce passion for re- 
form, could hardly wonder at having now become a mark for many 
eager and envenomed assailants.* 

" I know not any better way of celebrating the anniversary of St Abon- 
dio, the patron of Como, in whose church we enjoyed a cool hour in the 
hottest day of June, than by showing him as well as the police, who both 
have the privilege of reading my letters, that I have not forgotten the bene- 
fit I received from him. Whether you are yet at Keswick I can but con- 
jecture. I hope shortly to hear that you are there, for you can feel and 
communicate all the pleasures of an Englishman's home. My plans are 
never fixed and never will be. I have taken my house at Como for another 
year, because my wife is unable to travel, and expects to be confined in the 
beginning of March. The climate does not agree with her, nor indeed can she 
bear any great degree of heat You perceive that I creep onward in my 
pilgrimage to Rome like the good brother who had peas in his shoes, and 
not the boiled ones. There is one object which I have constantly wished 
to see above all others, and which I would rather see than all the cities in 
Italy, with Rome at their head : I mean the tomb of Cicero. And there is 
one duty which, if ever I am rich enough, I will perform. I will inscribe 
a simple tablet (for I hear there is none existing) to Ludlow. I am re- 

* It may not be oat of place to show what Bvrpn's real opinion of Southey was be- 
fore bad temper imbitterea and distorted everything. They met at Holland House at 
the close of 1813, when Byron, greatly struck "by Sonthey's appearance, protested that 
he would hare written his Sapphics to have had his head ana shoulders. Somewhat 
later, in a diary he was writing, he entered a more deliberate opinion f " Southey's ap- 
pearance is qnc; and he is the only existing entire man of letters. . . . His talents are 
of the first order. His prose is perfect. Of his poetry there are various opinions. 
There is perhaps too much of it for the present generation; posterity will probably 
select; bat he aw passages equal to anything." 


minded by this resolution that I wrote some verses on your laureateship. 
They are these : — 

Breath of what god hath blown the mists away, 

That thou whose influence filled the solitude, 

Whose music was for souls that shun the world, ' 

At length from thronging cities art beheld 

And hailed from pinnacles of palaces 

Far under thee, Southey ! late-beheld, 

As were the greater of the first-born stars 

The nearest to their mighty Maker's throne. 

Sit light of heart in the clear cool serene. 

Where other voice than that which called thee none 

Is heard around, nor other harp than thine. 

What serpents slid athwart thy noontide path! 
What birds of evil omen flapped their wings 
Heavily, lower and lower ! tneir darksome eye 
Saw not that radiant visage burst the clouds. * 

That right hand beckon upward, and that len 
Point toward Python with the golden bow. 

If this be earth, so lofty and so pure, 
Thou hast not left it utterly, divine 
Astrea ! She who led the son of Jove, 
And fixed his choice, performed her office here; 
But Thou upon the summit hast received 
Him whom she brought, and from thy righteous hand 
(Nine white-robed virgins hymning slow T>efore) 
Upon his brow I saw the crown descend." 

Hardly had that letter been despatched however, when Southey's of 
the 1 7th September reached its destination ; and on the various sub- 
jects named in it comment was made in a reply by Landor on the 
20th November, 1817- 


I have been expecting not a little impatiently the library you have sent 
me from England. Two months have expired since the date of your letter ; 
the ship ought to have reached Genoa in twenty days. It is unfortunate 
that Longman did not inform you ofl its name and captain. I am not much 
surprised at the roguery of Munday. He was paid in advance for printing 
my Latin poems, and has not sent a single copy to any of my friends or to 
myself; in contempt of my repeated orders. I begin to think that the 
English are become more rascally than any other nation. Few men have 
had concerns with fewer men than I have ; yet I have been defrauded to 
the amount at least of seventeen thousand pounds by about half a dozen 


" I never trouble my head with European politics ; but I must confess 
that, for many reasons, I am deeply interested in the success of the South- 
Americans. First, because I wish every nation under heaven to be inde- 
pendent ; and secondly, because it is highly advantageous to England that 
some near and close counterpoise should exist against North America, now • 
becoming a formidable and most mischievous power. Is it possible that the i 
English can be insensible to the efforts of Russia, in favor of Spain? Are 
our ministers ignorant that the empire of Russia in five-and-twenty years 
will extend from the Adriatic to the plains of Mexico, from Lapland to the 
fountains of the Ganges and the wall of China? I will stake my head 

JRT. 40-46.] AT OOMO. 267 

against a brass sixpence — or, what is of less value, against any one of 
theirs — on the fact We ought to have insisted on me independence of 
Poland, governed by a Russian prince, but never united to Kussia ; we 
should have insisted on its integrity, and have given Denmark and Saxony 
(both fairly forfeited) in lieu of Polish Prussia. I am certain that we never 
shall be what we have been, and I am equally certain that we might have 
been more great than ever." • 


" We are the only people in the universe, except the Spaniards, whose 
national debt is a grievous burden ; and that of Spain is intrinsically so in- 
considerable, that a firm hand could reduce it to nothing in ten years. The 
proper means are apparent, and, what is better, are adopted ; but can they 
be carried into execution by a government that has many ministers ? Cab- 
inets, as they are called, are the ruin of politics. Never was this fact so 
clearly proved as in the time of Chatham. A minister ought to be sole and 
absolute, but responsible. Had I been in the place of Chatham, I would 
have committed all the opposition of the cabinet to the Tower on a charge 
of high treason, and have brought them to trial when I had carried my 
plans into execution. The success of them, which was certain, would have 
satisfied the public mind, and have left me without impediment in future." 

The letter closed with a long Latin poem. He had at last had cour- 
age, he told his friend, to recommence his Sponsalia Polyxen<B y and 
he would transcribe just what his paper will hold :• whereupon he 
makes the paper hold all of it, no less than one hundred and twenty- 
seven hexameters ! He did not imagine, he adds, that he could have 
written in such small characters as to include the whole poem. " You 
will rank me as a sort of undertaker among the fraternity. 1 could 
not refuse a bunch of white plumes and a sprig of rosemary to poor 
Polyxena ; but I have much curtailed my original plan, of which I 
retain only the two first verses." * 

Of course his alarm about the books was premature. I say of 
course, because the characteristic that attended him through his life, 
and which I never knew once to fail him in all his later years, was his 
inability to wait with proper patience for anything. He wrote again, 
in the middle of December, 1817, to say that the packet had come. 


"If I had waited five days longer, I should not have sounded an 
alarm about the books. They have arrived safe, and, what is extraordinary, 
sound. Before I was permitted the use of them they were examined by a 
person who understands not a word of English, lest they should contain 
anything against the church or the government When he had satisfied his 
mind on the subject, he sent them to my house. Surely against a govern* 
ment so liberal^nd enlightened as it ought to be from its vicinity to Turkey, 
the most ingenious and the most malevolent could utter not a syllable ; but 
the church is at least equal in liberality, and has its own authority (an in- 
flexible one according to its own decrees) that it never can be shaken. Its 

* See Poemata et In$crij)tiones, pp. 11-16. Translated by him in Hellenics, pp. 198- 
200. In its final form the Sponsaua had become enlarged to one hundred ana eighty- 
four lines. 


268 PIB8T 8IX YEARS IN ITALY, **£-,£'* 

liberality is carried to such a point that any man may be an atheist and 
must only not be a heretic, and may follow Christ where he chooses if he is 
not ordered to the contrary by St Augustin. I perceive by the Lugano 
Gazette that an accession has lately been made to literature by the discov- 
ery of two hundred sermons written by this saint They were found in 
the library of Monte Cassino. I very much fear that, even in our own 
times, some classical works have been destroyed or consigned to darknes3 
by the persons whom the Pope appoints to superintend this ancient reposi- 


" Two months ago I received a visit from M. Becker, who has made dis- 
coveries in Greek works and has added a little to those of Plato, of whom 
he has given, as I understand, a very correct and admirable edition. I 
never saw a more modest man. He informed me, on my inquiry, that after 
repeated applications to several persons in power, he could not obtain per- 
mission to see anything more of the Ambrosian Library than any other 
traveller. Before he had time to begin writing any remarks, the doors 
were closed, and they are opened only on stated days. He could not help 
comparing this conduct with the frankness and anxiety shown in every 
German library that books should be read and examined. Dr. Angelo Mai, 
who published a few pages of Cicero, and Fronto, and Symmachus, promised . 
much and performed nothing. He seemed to consider the library as a 
property, in which his friends support him. The Ambrosian Library has 
not even a catalogue." 


" The first of your magnificent books that I took out of the box was 
Wordsworth. I would have given eighty pounds out of a hundred that he 
had not written that verse, 

* Of high reaped and gratitude sincere* 

It is like the verses of the Italians, Spaniards, &c, quite colloquial; and 
1 high respect, 1 an expression borrowed from the French, is without in- 
trinsic sense. Wordsworth has the merit, the rarest of all merits and the 
most difficult to be certain ofj to avoid street-and-house language and to bet 
richly endowed with whatever is most simple, pure, &n(T natural. In hi! I 
Lyrical Ballads he has sometimes disappointed me, just as an JSolian harp . 
has done when I expected a note more. These books have wakened me up. 
I shall feed upon them till I fall asleep again, but that will not be until I 
have devoured alL" 

The line objected to is in the dedication to the Excursion, and is ^ 
one of those unaccountable descents into dead flat prose which dia- 
may, not seldom, the readers of this noble poet. 

Before the year closed Southey wrote to him again ; thanking him 
for a box of books he had sent from Milan ; describing to him a cor- 
respondence with his brother Robert about the Latin poems, of 
which the result had been that the impression printed at Oxford 
would be transferred from Slatter and Munday to the Longmans, so 
that he might strike the Oxford printers out of his black list ; and, 
upon a subject of which they had talked much when together, the 
serpents in the neighborhood of Milan, sending him not merely a 
learned disquisition but some prescriptions against their venom! 

40-46.] AT OOMO. 269 

which he prays that St. Abondio may bless, since he owes that saint 
indeed a good turn for the delicious shelter he had afforded them on 
that hottest of days of which his friend had reminded him. Then 
there is a curious passage. Landor is told that what he had com- 
municated about the lady of the lake might not improbably be im- 
portant (it wanted yet three years to the too famous " trial ") ; that the 
amusements of Como were not unlikely before long to become the 
amusements of England ; and that if it should be so, from the lady's 
sympathizers throughout the kingdom the " knight " would doubt- 
less have plenary absolution for all those offences which in old time 
were punished with brimstone, the " assassin " would be as popular 
among the London liberals "as Bonaparte (why notl)," and the 
other worthy would be a red-letter saint in the Morning Chronicle. 
Similar and not less significant passages were in the letters that he 
and Landor's brother had exchanged upon the transfer of the Latin 


u I had a letter from your brother three days ago. He is more out of 
humor with the Ambrosian Library, or rather with the librarian, than I 
was. Perhaps this may be because JBecker, who complained to him of his 
treatment there, was a German, and therefore less likely to be treated with 
attention at Milan than an Englishman would be. 

" It would not surprise me if the amusements of Como were to be brought 
forward erelong for public discussion, and the Scudiere, the Knight, and 
the Assassin were to enjoy their deserved celebrity in this enlightened 
country, and become as popular as Bonaparte and Mr. Hone." 


"I am induced by some inquiries which have been made relative to 
Como since the receipt of your letter to believe that your suppositions are 
well founded. For my part I had nothing to communicate, and I am sorry 
that the subject should be discussed. Since it is now so clear, in the opinion 
of all enlightened men, that blasphemy is not injurious to religion, we may 
shortly learn flfat adultery is not offensive to morals. As for treason, there 
is no such thing: it is as ridiculous as witchcraft. There is no way by 
which a man can gain either fame or riches half so easy and expeditious as 
by doing something for which he would have been hanged fifty years ago. 
We shall have large subscriptions for the scudiere and assassin, and this 
' persecution ' will end in making the most infamous woman in Europe the 
most popular." 

A family event of some importance was announced in the next 
letter to Southey from Como. 


" When we met at Como last year, I do not think you had any suspicion 
that I was in process of time about to become a father. Such however is 
the case. I have at last a little boy, to whom I have given the names of 
Arnold Savage. I would rather that he had been born in England, and wish 
I could look forward to his education there. However, if I can do nothing 


more for him, I will take care that his first words and his first thoughts 
shall arise within bight of Florence. We certainly leave Como in Septem- 
ber, and shall probably spend the winter at Genoa; if not, it will either be 
at Florence or Pistoia." 

That was in May, 1818. Already, on the 5th of the preceding 
month, he had informed his mother of the event as haying occurred 
exactly a month ago." 



" I intend to call the boy Arnold Savage, from a Sir Arnold Savage, who 
was second speaker of the House of Commons, and who, as Mr. Bevan 
assured me, was of our family, and proprietor of Baginton .♦ I looked for 
him in a book which I bought on purpose, and procured with extreme diffi- 
culty, written by a person named Hakewell, on the manner of holding par- 
liaments, and found that Sir Arnold Savage was the first who declared that 
grievances should be redressed before money should be granted. I have so 
much respect for a person of this stamp that I should be likely to name a son 
after him, even if 1 had no connection with his family or name. The cere- 
mony of baptism is the same here as in England, and the godfather does 
not promise that the child shall be educated in any kind of Romish idolatry 
or superstition. For which reason I shall comply with the custom of (he 
country in about five or six days. He will be christened again in England, 
if he should return within the next twelve or fourteen years; but on this 
subject I am doubtful, or rather I am indifferent I have learned that it is 
possible to live out of England, and that a person who hates all society can 
do without it here full as well as there." 

The other contents of the May letter to Southey may be left to 
explain themselves. 


" A most extraordinary piece of intelligence reached us yesterday, that 
the Princess of Wales and five of her rascals had been poisoned. Such is 
the profound ignorance of the English character among this most degraded 
and infamous people, that it is considered as a thing beyond all doubt that 
the English have committed this atrocity. I could not refrain from making 
the following remark : ' There is only one nation in Europe accused of such 
villany. and that nation is far removed in all its institutions and feelings 
from tne English.' Although the report is circulated among the best- 
informed, I am inclined to disbelieve it Surely it is more probable that the 
sudden and violent heats have inflamed the blood of creatures who are 
always half drunk, or that disease or the remedies of disease are preying on 
their constitutions. It is not indeed quite impossible that those who are 
implicated in the forgery of the two letters of exchange have despatched a 
wretch capable both of employing and betraying them : nor that jealousy, 
not arising from the enjoyment of personal charms, but from the disposal of 
pecuniary favors, has precipitated some of the scoundrels in her service to 
commit this atrocious deed. She has a known and convicted assassin in her 
household, and who knows but some such untoward accident may have be- 
fallen her as befell Cesar Borgia, and played a sorry trick upon the infalli- 
bility of his father ? We shall certainly know more of the matter soon. 
The Pope's government is excellent in all respects, and Consalvi is at once 
the most honest and prudent statesman in Europe. He will unravel the 
mystery ; for whoever may be the contriver of this mischief, the perpetrator 
must be in the hohse." 

JET. 4O-46.I AT PISA. 271 


" The attempt that was made a little while ago on the Duke of Welling- * 
ton is blamed by a French poet — for failing I His verses are : — 

' La raaladresse est an deTaut; 

Mais tout s'explique, et voici comme: 
L'imb&ile a vise trop haut, 
H l'aura pris pour un grand-homme.' 

Surely the maladresse of the assassin was not greater than that of the poet, 

that aU the French generals, with the emperor at their head, should be 

conquered by a person who was not a great man at all. I wrote an 

answer: — 

A*hos trois premiers cheft qui valnquiront la France 
II coutoit maint effort et de glaive et de lance. 

8ui nous expliquero, poete ou guerrier, * comme ' 
n le fait aujourd'hui sans s'appeler • grand komme » t " 


u The only well-informed and rational man I ever converse with here in- 
forms me as a certain fact that other serpents than are commonly met with 
are seen occasionally on the mountains near Val Intelvi, where he formerly 
lived. In the family of the Borromei is the skeleton of one, ■— of that 
ppecies which gave rise to the fable of dragons with something like wings. 
There is no appearance, he says, of fallacy in this phenomenon. He him- 
self has seen the aspide, which he represents as having a head broader and 
larger than any other snake. That some islands should be exempt from 
these reptiles and others abound in them proves clearer than anything that 
some are split off from continents and others emerged from the sea. 
Britain was certainly part of a continent ; and one would fancy that Ire- 
land was, from its proximity. But this simple fact, in my mind, destroys 
the hypothesis. Cyprus always abounded in poisonous reptiles. Crete 
was always exempt from them; so was Delos and the Cyclades. The 
situation of all the latter leads one to believe in their marine origin, differ- 
ent from Cyprus. I must go to see the Borromean serpent. I cannot but 
suspect that a bat's wings have been appended by some learned Tagliaco- 
tius. If a serpent had wings, he would have no occasion to be a serpent." 

This was Landor's last letter from Como, which he quitted for 
Genoa in the'following September. He had already so resolved, as 
we see ; but when the time came it was no longer a matter of choice, 
for he had meanwhile, as he said himself in a note to one of his 
sisters, made the place too hot to hold him. 

m. AT PISA. 


u A scoundrel, one Monti, wrote a most violent invective in the form of 
a sonnet against England, in which he prays that heaven may refuse her 
light for her wars and treachery against St. Napoleon. I answered it in 
Latin, and attempted to print my poem, with an epigram on Voltaire and 
four others, in which no name whatever was employed. The censor de- 
clared that they were six libels. I expostulated with him. I informed him, 


for I had consulted a sensible jurist, that censors nerer refused their license 
to Latin compositions unless sovereigns or their alliances, or religion or 
morals, were attacked. I attributed his proceeding to ignorance of these 
customs, and not to injustice ; and I directed a copy of my letter to Count 
Strasoldo, principal of the council. Instead of correcting a gross abuse of 
power, this gentleman wrote a long letter to the regio delegate of the prov- 
ince. The regio delegate sent me information that my Latin poems were 
detained only because it was customary to send two copies, one of which 
continued in the archives of the censor, but that if I was desirous of it I 
might apply to his office. Not caring about the copy, I never went 
About a week afterwards he sent a second letter, to inform me that he re- 
quested my attendance on affairs very interesting to me. I went immedi- 
ately. He then discovered his first fallacy, and began to read a letter from 
Count Strasoldo, in which this fellow expressed his surprise that I should 
use injurious expressions towards the royal censor, a person immediately 
acting under government He then closed the letter and thought it requi- 
site t<f make a comment upon it He was astonished that I should write an 
insolent letter. I stopped him quietly, and said, ' Sir, the word insolent is 
never applied to a gentleman. If you had known the laws of honor or pro- 
priety you would not have used it ; and if you had dared to utter it in any 
other place you would have received a bella bastonata.' At this he sprang 
from his chair and rang the bell. He called the guards and all the officers 
of the police, who live under the same roof during the daytime. With 
these reinforcements he pursued : c Prepare instantly to conduct this gentle- 
man to Milan. Sir, unless you immediately retract your words you answer 
to government/ I replied: * I never retract any word of minej but I tell 
you in presence of all these persons that before I leave this room you shall 
retract yours. 1 He then pretended that he said rather insolent, that inso- 
lent meant disrespectful or violent, that if I had understood the lau- 
, guage I should not have animadverted on the expression, that he expressed 
the sentiments of Count Strasoldo. I replied: 'I care not a quattrino 
what are the sentiments of Count Strasoldo ; but he would not dare, and 
you may tell him that he would not dare, from me, to use any such ex- 
pression towards his equal. There is not one among the guards you have 
called in who would endure it As for your sending me to Milan under 
arrest, do it, if you are not afraid of exposing yourself still more than you 
have done.' He then began talking of his honor, that he had been in the 
service, that the threat of a caning was not to be borne, an4 that if it was 
not for his high office he would settle the business with his sword in the 
square. I laughed in his face ; and the rascal had the baseness to offer his 
hand in token of reconciliation, and to tell me what a friend he had always 
been of the English. The story was carried aH over the town the same 
evening, although it rained hearily ; and what surprises me is that it was 
told correctly. I remained in Como a week longer, rather wishing to be 
sent for to Milan. My time expired on the 19th of September. I pro- 
tracted my stay till the 28th, and no attempt was made to assassinate 


After brief stay at Genoa, Candor now determined to fettle at 
| Pisa for a time. He would fain have pushed on to Florence, but the 
'reported cheapness of living at Pisa induced him to make trial of it 


" I reached Genoa in three days, the most magnificent city in the world, 

jCT. 4O-46.] 



and the most reasonably discontented. I found the people civil, and, con* 
trary to their usual character, honest They flattered themselves that 
2O.0OO English were coming to take them under our dominion. I came to 
Pisa because I had heard formerly that it was a cheap place. On the con* 
trary, it is the very dearest I ever lived in, and the tradesmen sell nothing 
but refuse. Tea is double the price it is at Genoa, and, considering the 
quality, ten times dearer. The wine I cannot swallow. Several English 
gave fifty and forty-five zechins a month for indifferent lodgings. What 
blockheads must those be who imagine the hanging tower to have been 
built designedly so 1 Almost every tower and every great building either 
leans or is cracked in the neighborhood. In fact the foundations are of 
sand, formerly covered by the sea. Here is a cloister round an old ceme- 
tery called the Campo Santo, by much the best building I have seen in 
Italy. It is a light but not too florid Gothic, and by miracle no architect 
has been permitted to corrupt it. The Italian architects, with the single 
exception of PaUadio, are the most fantastic merry-andrews. Even Bra- 
mante and M. Angelo would not permit antiquity to be antiquity ; they 
wanted girlish airs and graces where they found matronly decorum. I re- 
main here rather more than two months longer. Pray let me hear how 
you and Mrs. S. do, and whether you have # bought your house as you in- 
tended. If it were in a milder climate it would be better. When we stand 
between forty and fifty we want the sun and zephyrs for other purposes 
than poetry. 1 


" It is very, very long indeed since I have heard from you. I forget 
whether in my last letter or the preceding I mentioned that I had received 
the books. I am reading over and over again the stupendous poetry of 
Wordsworth. In thoughts, feelings, and images not one amongst the an- 
cients equals him, and his language (a rare thing) is English. Nations are 
never proud of living genius. Surely no country under heaven has pro- 
duced in twenty years so much excellent poetry and such a rich lattermath 
of what approaches to good as our own in the last twenty. Our breakfast- 
table poets alone are fairly worth all the long-winded beaux of Louis XIV. 
I have, however, a great fondness for La Fontaine ; for 1 never see an ani- 
mal, unless it be a parrot or a monkey or a pug-dog or a serpent, that I do 
not converse with either openly or secretly. Besides, La Fontaine is the 
only French writer in verse who knows when he has said enough." 

Southey lost no time in replying ; but another letter crossed his 
on its way, conveying to him, early in February, 1819, a Latin ode to 
Bernadotte, Carmen ad Begem Suedorurru 

" Hearing that all the poets in France and Germany are contending for 
the prize decreed by the Academy of Stockholm to be given for the best 
ode on the accession of Bernadotte, I resolved to set- myself against the 
continent. If you have any means of forwarding my ode to the Royal 
Academy of Stockholm, pray do. Bernadotte has this merit : he has kept 
his word, and given an excellent and most liberal constitution to Sweden, 
or rather restored one. For which reason I place him next to the Duke of 
Saxe -Weimar among the sovereigns of Europe, and sincerely wish him a 
long and happy reign. The few lines at bottom, announcing my intentions, 
should be incrosed, and sealed or wafered separately. I never felt greater 
anxiety than now to hear from you. For Grod's sake write soon. Direct 
Mr. W. S. Lander, gentiluomo Inglese, Firenze, Italy, because the English 



letters are always put apart in the office. I remember your mentioning 
that Mr. Frere had made out some old Greek ballads from the Odyssea. ft 
is curious that Cicero should have entertained the same idea ; surely not 
from his knowledge of poetry. He, however, must have given Mr. Frere 
his idea of the fact Adieu. Many, many happy years ! " 

The " few lines at the bottom " were in characteristic vein. If the 
lines got the prize, it was to be given away in charity. " Si forte 
hoc, Academici, carmen premio dignetur, id velim pauperibus detia, 
aut, quemadmodum visum erit, adversa valetudine laborantibus. 
Savagius Landoh." 

Meanwhile from Keswick, on the 3d of January, Southey has ac- 
knowledged ("it came in eighteen days") the December letter from 
Pisa ; has excused his recent silenoe by prolonged anxiety for the 
health of his wife ; has recommended Landor, when he had seen 
enough of Italy, to try a short stay in Switzerland ; and has told 
him that before that time they may perhaps meet again. " I dream 
of seeing Rome before I die." 

landor's reply : (april, 1819.) 

" The idea that I shall see you before I leave Italy makes my residence 
here much delightfuller. When my spirits wax faint I say to myself) ' I 
have yet to see Rome and Southey. " 

again the latin ode to bernadotte. 

11 If I remember right* your last letter of the 3d of January came a few 
days after I wrote from Pisa. Mine contained an ode to the King of 
Sweden. I wrote it, both because I consider him as the most patriotic 
king that ever lived, and because I hear the Germans and French are con- 
tending for a prize to be given for the best poem on the subject by the 
Royal Academy of Sweden. In a separate piece of paper I said something 
of this kind : ' Si carmen hoc nostrum premio dignum judicabitur, habeant 
pauperes,' with my name. If my letter reached you, perhaps you have had 
some opportunity of sending it to the president Lest it should not, I will 
transcribe the verses again, not caring greatly whether they ever reach their 
further destination or not. Remember what a library you sent me last year, 
and pray do not think of adding anything to the two volumes I am anx- 
iously expecting, the last of the History of Brazil and Life of Wesley. I 
shall read both with great interest, but less the first time than Roderick the 
fourth. Roderick, I think, contains a greater variety of powers put into 
action than Kehama. It did not delight me nor agitate me so much, yet 
there is no poem in existence that I shall read so often." 

Very sore was Southey's need of his friend's praise just now, for 
upon him and upon Wordsworth dark days had set in. The still 
continuing and increasing rage for Byron and his imitators had all 
but extinguished what scant popularity the others once enjoyed, and 
for selling power their books were at zero. Southey had hoped to 
see the bubble burst in a year or two ; but double the time had come 
and gone, and never did it soar so high as now, or flare out with 
what doubtless seemed to him such frothy but highly colored pre- 

jet. 40-461] AT PMTOIA. 275 

tences. Replying to that letter of his friend in May, 1819, he can- 
not control his temper. He describes the fashionable compound as 
made up of morbid feelings, atrocious principles, exaggerated charac- 
ters, and incidents of monstrous and disgusting horror ; adding that 
the more un-English, un-Christian, and immoral it was, the surer it 
was of being better liked, provided only it were slavered over with a 
froth of philosophy. Was it wonderful that, such being the fashion, 
Wordsworth was despised and abused ? The getting abused in such 
company was his own solitary bit of comfort, for nobody paid him 
the compliment of imitating what he did. His friend's ode had gone 
to Sweden through the ambassador ; and he was going shortly to 
send him, by Wordsworth's express desire, a little poem with a pro- 
logue he would be much pleased with.* At the close of the letter, 
which announces also the birth of a son, he tells Landor that some- 
body had mentioned him that week in the Westmoreland Gazette as 
the English poet who most resembles Goethe. "I do not know 
enough of Goethe to judge how far this assertion may be right ; but 
a writer who estimated you so justly must have been capable of esti- 
mating him. O that you had been as incapable of writing Latin 
verse as I am ! God bless you." 

To this letter Landor replied from Pistoia ; whither he had gone, 
moving still nearer to Florence, at the approach of the summer of 



"Thank God! Tears of joy came into my eyes on seeing that you are 
blessed with a son. The same kind Providence that has given the child 
will watch over the mother. Present my most cordial congratulations to 
her, and tell her that of all the women that exist on earth, she has occupied 
my thoughts the most for many, many months. A long series of happy days 
lies before you. — of happy days well earned. I am glad on every account 
that vour brother is come to reside near you.f Exercise in itself is good; 
but the cessation of study, at more frequent intervals than you are disposed 
to allow, is far more important. I never studied so much as you have always 
done, yet, after four years o&a rather close attention to books, my eyes were 
weakened. Sea-bathing restored them, but they are sometimes dim. I 
used to play the river- god in a very humble manner, placing the palms of 
my hands upon the hard gravel of the Arrow, and making my legs plash 
about like weeds. Idleness is as dear to me as to any gypsy, but above all, 
idleness in the water or upon it" 


" In respect to Brazil, you have many means of forming a correct judg- 
ment which I have not, but I differ from you totally. MaUpecoris contagia 

• tt Peter Bell." 

t Souther's letter had told of his brother the sea-captain's farm within four miles 
of Keswick, and of his own pleasure in visiting him there, and bathing in the " beck " 
at the bottom of his fields, " where there are natural baths of jdl aepths, and seats 
where yon may act the river-god. 1 ' 




Icedent. The Portuguese will not be seduced by the republic of Venezuela ; 
the inhabitants of Monte Video, whether subject to Brazil or not, will har- 
monize little with the Brazilians, but the sailors and merchants of North 
America will instil the slower poison of disaffection. The military system 
of Brazil is both oppressive and inefficient Ctiili seems to me the most 
likely to be happy and powerful : happy because virtuous, powerful because 
unassailable. The climate, the people, the remote situation, are equally 
favorable to the growth of freedom. I wish they were governed by a Ber- 
nadotte or a Consalvi, But how seldom in a thousand years is a nation 
blessed with such prudent statesmen I Would to God that either one 
or the other had governed England at the commencement of the French 
Revolution! France had been divided by her factions at this hour, and 
England the arbitress of Europe without the pressure of debt 

"Yankee-land * will crack and split asunder, either in the combustion of 
party or under the driving sirocco of avarice, but will corrupt many 
thousands of our seamen first, and injure the character of our merchants by 
her connection with them." 


" It is just as easy to write a breakfast-table poem as to .make the draw- 
ing of a giant on a wall : who cares about the features, or looks for anything 
but the giant ? I have read the Bride of Abydos. Lord B. may well ask, 

* Know ye the land 
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, 
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute? ' 

Who the devil does? But why should the young rascal^ the hero of the 

piece, take such infinite pains to show his mistress his insincerity at the 

moment he would seduce ner from home ? 

4 Bound where thou wilt my barb, or glide my prow, 
But be the star that guides the wanderer, thou. 1 

The star then is either a barb or a boat, explain it as he may afterwards. 
There are several other such incoherences, not worth looking for. I would 
never publish a poem that contained any character of a human being until 
I had lived with that character two or three years. I left off Count Julian 
and his daughter twice, because each had said things which other person- 
ages might say : the other characters are no characters at all, — mere shad- 
ows, passing before me often, but never entering into my heart, or 
questioned by me why they did this or thought that As to Gebir, I am 
certain that I rejected what almost every man would call the best pert I 
am afraid that I have boiled away too much, and that something of a native 
flavor has been lost in procuring a stronger and more austere one. My sole 
felicity as a poet is this, that when I wrote Qebir I had read no modem 
Continental poetry whatever, except the Eenriade of Voltaire, one tragedy 
(I forget which) of Corneille, and La Fontaine's fables. Fresh from reading 
the Greek tragedians and Pindar, Voltaire and Corneille were intolerable to 
me. La Fontaine gave me, and gives me still, great pleasure, because I love 
to enter into the thoughts of animals and contract a friendship with them 

* Southey had talked freely in his last letter of Yankee-land in connection with J 
visit to him of some young Bostonians, George Ticknor and others, wjiom he had founa 
accomplished in fine literature far beyond the run of their countrymen, but wn° 
had failed to cure him of his grudge against America. " Our French neighbors are 
fond of comparing us to the Cftrthnpnians, but the parallel would suit the American' 
better, for their commercial, military, and naval skill, their boundless ambition, tbeff 
dishonesty, and their lack of literature." 

XT. 40-461] AT PISTOIA. 277 

whenever they come In my way. I could wish I understood a little Ger- 
man, to see the resemblance between me and so celebrated a poet as Goethe. 
I do not admire his Sorrows of Werter" 


" I am glad you have finished the History of Brazil, hot because our liter- 
ature -wanted history, as it did most grievously, but because the New England 
poem "will give you in writing and me in reading ten thousand times greater 
delight. You have no imitators, not because you are not fashionable only, 
but because you have no trick. Have you never observed how fond low 
people are (and poetry has its low people) of imitating any legerdemain ? 
God in his mercy preserve you and Wordsworth first from translators, and 
next from imitators. The present of a book from W. will be one of the three 
or four eras in my life ; and those who come alter me, if they remember 
and love me, will show it to their friends. Give your little boy a kiss for 
me. In one of my letters that miscarried from Gomo I mentioned that I 
also had a son. He begins to walk. I am anxious for the time when he 
will talk as much nonsense to me as I have to him. Among my few bless- 
ings I have always reckoned this, that every child in the world loves 
me. Amongst grown men, I question whether mere are five upon earth that 

The same subjects are resumed and pursued in another .letter, 
written also from Pistoia in the following month, which continues 
the reply to his friend. 

southey's son : JULY, 1819. 

11 On the receipt of your letter, which gave me more joy than anything 
that has occurred for many years, I immediately wrote an answer, and re- 
quested Dr. Randolph to leave it, with a little poem, at Longman's. A few 
Hours afterwards I recollected that he did not think of reaching England 
before October. What a large and varied scene of delights and enjoyments 
is opening before you ! Nor are they lost upon me. I enjoy them in all 
my walks, and in all the better moments of my solitude." 


" I too used formerly to act the river-god and sea-god on every fair oc- 
casion ; but our Ombrone is a river only a few months in the year, and if I 
assumed the dignity of representing him in any little hollow of his channel, 
there would be a danger of being obliged to sustain the same character in 
the streets of Pistoia. The first passenger would steal my clothes. Have 
you never observed in the Roman writers how perpetually they talk of 
thieves ? All the authors on husbandry, and all the poets, are full of them. 
The windows of every house, both in town and country, are barred below. 
The Italians have always been the most thievish of nations, and I think the 
French (to their honor be it spoken) the least' 1 



"I am impatient to see Wordsworth's new poem : partly, I am afraid, 
from an avidity of honor. This passion preys upon me as little as upon 
most men, but I am rather feverish at the thought that Wordsworth is 

278 mar six yeabs in- italy. f^K*™ 


about to give me one of his writings. Exhort him, if he wants exhorting, 
to continue his great work ; and, if it can be done without offending him, 
press him never to notice in future those contemptible writers and bad men 
to whom his notice even in resentment is an important acquisition. Hos- 
tility, not only between states, but between individuals, is apt to present 
some idea of parity. God forbid that these rascals, drunk or dreaming, 
should ever experience or excite it" 


" Your History of Brazil contains facts which would have been eternally 
lost to the world if you had not collected them. In my opinion another 
half-volume would close it entirely. I cannot see how so vile a govern- 
ment can endure seven years. What an amazing general is Artiga^! 
Europe has seen nothing like him since Sertorius. Happy would it hare 
been for Buenos Avres if its armies had been intrusted to this marvellous 
creature instead of opposed to him. I hope our government will discern 
that South America may become our best ally against North America, and 
that we may, next year or the following, assist it in recovering Florida or 

" Out first business is to intercept the rotten expedition at the moment 
when the crew is dying of thirst I dread the future naval power of North 
America, because she will fight us with the best of our own sailors, and will 
employ none but experienced onea Why could not we have given every 
sailor a badge, and have paid his arrears weekly, with rather more than a 
proportional increase ? In that case they must have remained with England ; 
they would have received somewhat above their due, and, before it could 
be exhausted, .would have found new employment from our merchants, who 
should have been obliged to take those who bore the badge in preference to 

" It appears to me perfectly just to strip Spain of Mexico and the Island 
of Chfloe. A declaration of war against us could never have done us a 
tenth of the injury we suffer from the cession of Florida. The South Sea 
presents a new world to our commerce, which territory alone can establish 
and secure." 


" I hope Mrs. Southey has quite recovered from her confinement, and 
that your little boy will be your comfort and blessing. 

" I just now remember some verses I wrote last year at Nervi, near 
Genoa: — 

jEstate dulce est, sub latebrts ruplum, 
1 Aura ma rinse mitibusque fluctibus 

Mentem atque corpus otiosmn traders; 
Sed gaudium isto mains unum est gaudio 
Qnascunque terras ailuat mare, innatans 
Te, patria, tango, et potior amplexu tao." 

At the approach of winter Landor turned back to Pisa ; disap- 
pointed of a house he hoped to have engaged in Florence, but still 
bent upon finally settling there. His principal occupation since he j 
left Como had been the preparation of a Latin dissertation, to ac- 
company another more complete collection of. his Latin Poems, On 
the use and cultivation of the language by modern Latinists, the rea- 
sons why they were not read more widely, and the advantages that 

.CT. 40-46.] AT PIST0IA. 279 

would result from employing Latin universally in works of taste and 
imagination. Upon this latter amazing paradox he wasted wonderful 1 
pains and ingenuity; and for its extraordinary mastery over the ( 
language, its free and daring criticism of classics both ancient and 
modern, and its varied reading not alone in Greek and Latin but in 
Italian and English literature, it would justify a mention in greater 
detail than can be given to it here.* I use it here only as an illus- 
tration of character. It was written under a persuasion, absolute 
while it lasted, that he might thus obtain an audience for what he 
had to say not only greatly wider but far more enduring than if 
he continued to write in his native tongue ; and though he soon 
repented of this purpose to put forth nothing more in English that 
was either critical or imaginative, he had a lurking belief to the very 
last, that he should live to be recognized as a poet by reason of his 
Latin writings, when not only his, but all the English poems contem- 
porary with his, should with the language itself have drifted hope- 
lessly away. Nor were the eccentric turns of his temper on this 
point without some advantage in the end. Never till he was making I 
that preposterous engagement to use the brave old speech no longer, \ 
had he made himself so thoroughly acquainted with its masterpieces 
even in tracks quite apart from his ordinary reading. What the 
character of his studies had been in past days of leisure he has 
already related in his letter to the Chancellor £Ldon,f and his silent 
companions at Llanthony 'were his later heroes in many an imaginary 
conversation ; but besides* this large acquaintance with other than 
English writers, the latter also had recently become more variously fa- 
miliar to him. Until he lived abroad, he used to say he did not know 
what a library was ; and very generally he had now enlarged the 
circle of the authors with whom he was in the habit of passing great 
portions of his time. " You surprised me," wrote Walter Birch $ to 
him just before he quitted Pistoia, " by the familiarity you displayed 
with the literature of our old divines in the letter I had from you 
almost a year ago." Another remark from the same Jetter may be 
added. Landor had been writing to his old school-fellow of the 
Latin Essay he had in hand, and of the eulogy it would contain of 
Wordsworth ; and " would you believe it," Birch replies, " I inquired 
for the Excursion at Upham's last year, and found that they did not 
even know that such a book had been published." The. poem had 
been out nearly five yeara when this letter was written. 

* With some changes and many additions it will be found at the close of his 
Poemata et Inscriptiones (1847). 

t Ante, p. 210. 

t In the same letter Birch announces to Landor his marriage, and tells him he has 
become " rusticated and country-parson-fled " upon a living in Wiltshire which Lord 
Pembroke had given him. This he changed three years later fox a better living in 
Essex given him by his college, and which he held to nis death. 




" It appears to me an age since I heard from you. nor have I yet received 
the new poem of Wordsworth. A poem given by nim, as I have just been 
telling my friend Walter Birch, is like a kingdom given by Alexander or 
Cyrus. As I myself have been confined by a bilious and nervous fever, I 
fancied that something of the kind must have happened to you. God for- 
bid. Neither my time nor my life are worth anything ; but yours are very 
precious, and, like the mines of Mexico, have many proprietors. I think 
my last letter contained a long extract from a poem I have written called 
1 Catiilus and Salia ' ; but I have not begun {he necessary custom of taking 
any note of what I write about, so that some favorite thought may occur 
two or three times, and another, more necessary, drop altogether. I sup- 
pose the intelligence has reached England that Cicero's book Dt Republtcd 
has been discovered at Borne by Angelo Mai I read Cicero with inde- j 
scribable delight ; but I would rather either read or have written almost any I 
pne of Wordsworth's later poems than the most celebrated work of Cicero. 
I have often turned both to his and to yours, sometimes to make my heart 
sometimes my spirits, and sometimes my body better ; for good poetry ana 
perfect solitude I have always found the best nurses. My brother Robert 
informs me that he has sent, addressed to you at Longman's, my poem, 
Sponsalxa Polyxence; * and, what is of more importance, that he has lieard 
from Mr. Senhouse that you are well. But his letter is dated above three 
months ago. I sent the poem in June, and wrote either in May or ApriL 
You told me in your last thatMrs. Southey had just recovered from a very 
severe and dangerous illness. I am extremely anxious to hear how she 
does ; and pray give your little boy a kiss for me. This is my birthday : 
and as I never, as far as I can recollect, slept soundly on its anniversary, I 
do not flatter myself that I shall to-night Gray talks of 

* Slumbers light that fly the approach of morn.' 
Mine are and always were light enough, but instead of ' flying the approach of 
morn,' they wait for it I sometimes amuse myself with writing Latin poetry 
or correcting what I have written, but I read little. Some time or other I 
propose to finish Dante, which I began about eleven years ago, but wanted 
perseverance. A twentieth or thirtieth part of what I read was excellent 
You cannot say the same of Ariosto. He is a Carnival poet ; but he is 
never very bad. When shall we see your Quaker? Do not let the times 
make any impression on your writings, and as little as possible on your 
mind. I think of England as if I were in another world and had lost all 
personal interest in it I foresaw and predicted the whole of these calami- 
ties when that madman Pitt united the French of all parties by hostility 
Men reduced to poverty must be discontented. We wither the tree and 
complain that it becomes touchwood and catches fire. I shall remain here 
all the winter, all the spring, and perhaps the summer. So that I cherish 
the hope of hearing from you more than once before my departure. Jfaa, 
January 30." 

Southey replies with renewed lamentation over the misfortune of 
his friend's predilection for Latin verse, of which he never thinks but 

* Ante, p. 267. It is the same " little poem " to which he refers in his last-quoted 
letter, and which he had now privately printed. 

JET. 40-46.] AGAIN AT PISA- 261 

as of a great loss to English literature ; speaks of Byron's imitations 
of Frere in Beppo and Don Juan, the last of which he denounces as 
" a foul blot in the literature of his country, an act of high treason 
in Rn g1i«h poetry, for which the author deserves damnation " ; and* 
gives news of Wordsworth's doings and his own. 

" Wordsworth's ' Peter Bell ' has not been sent to you yet, because I have 
been waiting for other things to accompany it; by itself it would neither be 
worth carriage nor have any chance of reaching you, unless an opportunity 
had offered of sending it by a private hand It will have in company now 
as many other of his smaller pieces as suffice, with it, to form a third volume 
of his poems. The last of these portions is now in the press, and my ' Life 
of Wesley ' will be forthcoming nearly at the same time, — in the course of 
three or four weeks. He desires me to send the whole, having as just a 
sense of your powers as a poet as you have of his. Wesley and the third 
volume of Brazil will give form and weight to the parcel ; I do not how- 
ever mean to undervalue them. You will find Borne very interesting mat- 
ter in both. I hope also that I shall be able to send some verses of my 
own upon the king's death. My taste for ex-officio verses is not very unlike 
your own. But you will not be apprehensive that I shall debase myself by 
the matter ; and the manner will interest you as an experiment in versifica- 

In the same letter, dated March, 1820, there is a sharp protest 
against Landor's recent praise of one of the South American leaders. 
"You must have seen some exaggerated accounts of Artigas. He is 
merely one of the ruffians whom , circumstances have brought for- 
ward in that miserable part of the world : those of Buenos Ayres 
being only not so bad as those of Venezuela because they have not 
had an opportunity as yet of committing as many crimes. A deluge 
that should sweep those countries clean would be a merciful visita- 
tion : such is the character of their present inhabitants, and such 
the atrocity with which they carry on an internecine warfare." 

To this Landor rejoined in May. 

" In a few days I shall have despatched for England a volume of Latin 
poems, which will be printed at the close of the ensuing week. Longman 
will send you a couple of copies, together with one for Wordsworth. I beg 
that one of the copies may be presented with my compliments to your 
uncle Mr. Hill, of whom I have often thought since I had the pleasure of 
meeting him at Bristol, and to whom the literary world is so much indebted 
for the strength with which he has supplied you for the History of Brazil. 
Yet I wish that cursed country had never been discovered, since it with- 
draws your attention from poetry. The English consider the Portuguese 
and the negroes in nearly the same point of interest, and all the genius in 
the world will never make your History a popular work. Now about Arti- 
gas. I never read anything about him except in the newspapers ; but I 
conversed one day with an ignorant but acute Swiss who had resided four 
months at Monte Video and a year at Buenos Ayres. He assured me that 
A. was more dreaded by the latter city than all the Spaniards and Portu- 
guese united ; that while he was at Monte Video A- had destroyed nearly a 
whole regiment lately arrived from Portugal, and obliged four thousand 
Portuguese to retreat Yet he had no money except what arose from the 

282 fibst act tbabs in italt. ^SS^JT 



confiscation of Portuguese property and the sale of licenses to capture 
their vessels, the whole amount of which in a year could not amount to 
20,000 dollars. The greatest force he ever collected was 2,800. Surely 
then whatever may be the moral character, whatever the political views, of 
this man, in war no age has produced his superior except J. Caesar and Ser- 
torius. He appears to possess a surprising influence over the near tribes 
in all directions, particularly about Buenos Ayres and Monte Video. The 
troops he has beaten and destroyed fought under Lord Wellington and are 
equal to our own. He has killed of Spanish Americans and Portuguese 
from seven to ten thousand at different times, with the loss of about 2,000, 
and was never beaten. The Portuguese are unwilling to attack him when 
he commands in person, but he is often forced to be absent to collect troops 
and encourage the provinces in his favor. This man (the Swiss) was inter- 
cepted and plundered by his soldiers, but supplied with provisions, a horse, 
a guide, and allowed to go to Buenos Ayres. I hope tne government of 
Buenos Ayres will conciliate an enemy so formidable : if not, that he will 
overturn it and exterminate the Portuguese government, than which noth- 
ing ever was more iniquitous in its whole system. Foller (the Swiss) cor- 
roborates all that Koster says of the mode of levying troops, and the taxes 
have since been much increased. Floreat quercus Guernica. Adieu. I 
have a few books which I want to send you. Did not vou say that, if di- 
rected to the Austrian ambassador, books came to you free? Give me the 

Southey'g next letter (19th of August) announced that the books 
so long promised by himself had been despatched : Wordsworth's 
Peter Bell and Sonnets on the River Duddon, with his own last vol- 
ume of the History of Brazil and his Life of Wesley. It told also 
of his other labors in history and poetry, the Peninsular War and 
the Tale of Paraguay ; the last retarded by the Spenser stanza, but 
now resumed once more. It related some of the incidents of the new 
reign ; Scott's baronetcy ; his own doctorate at Oxford, where nobody 
even at his own college remembered him, except the old porter and his 
wife ; the proceedings begun a month before against " the modern Mes- 
salina," with the support given her by the devilish newspapers, the mor- 
al pestilence of the age ; and the beautification of London, which his 
friend will scarcely know when he returns to it, if the Catilines 
should not first have burnt it down. Finally it told of a Series of 
Dialogues which he proposed to write upon a plan suggested by 
Boethius ; and this announcement, as it turned out, was a very mem- 
orable one for Landor, whose reply was written in September, and 
begins with allusion to the books he in the foregoing letter had 
promised his friend. 



" My anxiety to receive your last volume of the Brazilian History, the 
Life of Wesley, and Wordsworth's poems, is sharpened if possible by the i 
letter I receive to-day. . . . Two of the books I proposed sending to you ' 
are folios and heavy. One is Vincentii Speculum Historiae, praised highly 
by Scaliger, and in which he says things are found which are found no- 
where else. I have read a great deal of the book with surprise and satis- 

jCT. 40-46. ] AGAIN AT PISA. 283 

faction. Tell me if you have it ; and if not, whether you think it worth 
the duty. The other folio is Paul Hoste's Treatise on Naval Tactics, which 
perhaps may amuse your brother. The French pretend that it has taught 
us everything we know of such matters. It certainly is a scientific work, 
and contains some pretty vignettes: commendations which the French 
would naturally place together. The other books are small, and valueless 
in all other respects than that I have found few of them in the public 
libraries. They are chiefly modern Latinists, of which some persons, I hear, 
begin to make collections, among others Mr. Heber." 


" I am reading a second time your History of Brazil, — a totally new 
world to all the literary men in Europe, whatever may be their pretensions. 
If you had not undertaken the work, it never could have been performed. 
If my opinion is correct, that barbarism is constituted of three principal 
things, filth, cruelty, and superstition, the difference is hardly anything be- 
tween the discoverers and the discovered. But the spirit of discovery, 
you will argue, proves the superiority. I do not see that. The spirit 
tliat induced the American to search for wild animals to eat is more nat- 
ural, more laudable, and more sagacious than that which propelled the 
Spaniard and Portuguese to hazard his life and lose his comforts in search 
of what was more difficult to find and more unsatisfactory when found. 
The Roman Catholic superstition appears to me infinitely worse than any 
other species of idolatry, because it has every evil inherent in it which any 
one of those has, and in addition is more propense to intolerance and idle- 
ness. Everything can be done by proxy. Men in Catholic countries pray 
to God and get children by proxy, and by proxy are damned or saved. 
The priest even eats and drinks for you at supper, and helps you to a slice 
of meat by putting into his mouth a piece of bread. A cannibal eats you 
because he is hungry or because he hates you; a Catholic kills you upon a 
full stomach for your own good and to please God. How very few men 
are not barbarous I how very few are free from cruel actions even towards 
those whom they would be the happier for loving 1 " 

Next he speaks — with no more thought of Childe Harold, and of 
the mastery of the Spenser stanza exhibited by its writer, than if 
there had been no such poem or poet in that century — 


" You delight me by saying that you must take up the poems which have 
been so Ion? on hand. The stanza of Spenser is less difficult to you than to 
any one. It has made poets, and ought not to deter one. How infinitely 
more pure is Thomson in his admirable Castle of Indolence than elsewhere 
and Shenstone in his Schoolmistress I How greatly has Wordsworth sur- 
passed the noblest passages of Spenser himself in his Laodamia t The stanza 
is not new to you, and you* possess a copiousness and richness of language 
such as few poets have possessed. I hope Wordsworth will write no more 
short poems until he has finished his Recluse. If our country must fall, let 
her expire in the arms of genius. France, in all her troubles, has produced 
no writers fit to compose the title-page of an almanac, and the period has 
been thirty years. Athens had her Demosthenes and her Aristoteles, Rome 
her Cicero. Modern ages indeed have produced no preat prose-writers, but 
in poets we far surpass the ancients : a position which half a century ago 


was untenable is now unassailable. Let those who have rendered it so add 
to its outworks." 


" I shall never see London again. I never saw it willingly. But surely 
nothing can make a cold brick-kiln a fine city. The Circus in Bath is the 
most perfect thing I have seen, or shall see ; but the inhabitants have in- 
jured it by cutting down the windows to the floor. The Parades have been 
deprived of their balusters, and iron palisades substituted. Still, the rest of 
Europe has nothing equal to them. The northern part of Queen's Square 
was never surmounted by balusters on the roof- wall, and we see a broken- 
backed roof called a Bath roof: yet London and Paris have nothing so fine. 
The Crescent, if streets joined the two extremities, without roads between, 
would be perfect; it is matchless in other places. The architecture of 
Pulteney Street does not quite please me, and perhaps is little better than 
Portland Place. I know not what they have been doing in your capital ; 
but unless they open a street from St Paul's across the Thames, the whole 
width of the church's length, they may as well do nothing." 

bouthet'b doctorate at oxford. 

" The University of Oxford ought to purchase an estate for you in the 
country, as a reward for becoming one of its doctors. How extremely few 
are the occasions when honorary and prostituted are not one and the samel 
Learned bodies, and above all those in which divinity and morals are pro- 
fessed, should guard against this. The very division into commoners and 
gentleman-commoners in this age is most scandalous and offensive. In 
Cambridge the name is less detestable, but the thing noteless invidious. 
Learning and virtue should alone distinguish young men, or indeed old ones. 
• . . Your letter has made me think again, not of Christchurch walk, but 
of my favorite Magdalen and the half-hidden CherwelL" 

At the close of October, Southey wrote again, and the whole of his 
letter should be given. It is interesting still, much of it too curious 
to be lost ; and beside what it tells of Landor's story or illustrates of 
the character of both the friends, it is necessary to explain what will 


"I hope you have received the books long ago; they were l shipped by 
the grace of God in good order and well-conditioned in and upon the 
good ship called the Cosmopolite, George Holland, master, June 27th,' ac- 
cording to the invoice, which has been sent to me since I wrote to you last 

" Have you heard of Sir Charles Wolseley's letter to Lord Castlereagh ? 
I fell upon it to-day in the limes, and copy for your astonishment this para- 
graph: ' I beg leave to inform your lordship that, if his Majesty's govern- 
ment will allow me a month's leave of absence from my present place of 
confinement, I will undertake to be of the utmost service to her Majesty in 
the pending prosecution against her, by going from hence to Como, where 
during the year 1817 I lived several months with my family; and from that 
circumstance, and being acquainted with several people who were employed 
by the queen, I have an opportunity of getting at evidence that would be 
of the greatest consequence^ that no Englishman but myself and a Mr. 
Walter Landou, who is now in Italy, can have had the same opportunity of 

JET. 40-46.] AGAIN AT PISA. 285 


knowing/ You probably know that one of Brougham's brothers has been 
on the Continent beating up for witnesses. If this letter had appeared in time, 
no doubt he would have gone in search of you, and I should like to have 
been present at the interview. • Sir Ch. W. must be half crazy. We may judge 
how capable he is of forming a sane opinion upon any subject, when he has 
so topsy-turvy a recollection of your knowledge upon this. His letter, of 
course, has not obtained the slightest notice, and therefore none can be 
needful on your part Had the mention of your name been such as in any 
way to compromise you, I should without hesitation have written to the 

" Most persons seem to apprehend that this trial will not terminate with- 
out some violent explosion. Certain it is that every possible art is used for 
making the mob rise in open rebellion. But though it is very possible to 
foresee the consequence of publio opinions, public madness must baffle all 
foresight ; and this is an absolute insanity. It was well observed by an 
acquaintance of mine the other day, upon hearing that Bedlam was to be 
enlarged, ' Enlarge Bedlam, indeed 1 better build a wall round London 1 ' 

" The course of events in Spain and Portugal may perhaps lead to an 
union of the two kingdoms, but not I think as kingdoms. I have long 
thought that the tendency of revolution in the Peninsula was to break it up 
into its old subdivisions, give to each province its own cortes and its own 
fueros, and unite them in a federal compact like the Americans. And if 
there were no rubs in the way, and if the example could do no one harm in 
other countries, this might be desired. Alas, neither the Bourbons nor the 
Braganzas are worth a wish. As yet it is not known what course the king 
of Portugal will take : probably he must yield to what he cannot oppose, 
and what in fact is both reasonable and right, considering the monstrous 
misgovernment which has so long prevailed. But concessions made under 
such circumstances are only likely to retard the catastrophe, not to alter it 
In the present state of Europe the abuse of monarchy tends to produce 
democracy; and democracy, which is more certain to produce immediate 
and more intolerable abuse, brings on military despotism. The first book 
which I shall have to send you will contain my speculations upon the pro- 
gress of society, in the form of dialogue. This is evidently one of the 
climacteric periods of the world. I am not afraid of the issue of the crisis 
in England, where we have so much at stake, that is, where we have most 
to lose and least to gain. In Italy, whatever may happen, you will be ' only 
a lodger.' It is well, however, that we are not as young as we were at the 
commencement of the French Revolution. For my part I look on with a 
wholesome but not impatient interest ; knowing perfectly what end to wish 
for, but so doubtful respecting the means that I am well content to trust 
Providence : and in that confidence I rest 

44 1 have none of the books which you mention, and I shall prize them 
when they arrive. Direct them to Longman's care. Every day I expect 
the first proof of my Peninsular War. The leaves are falling fast We 
have now long evenings, and I have a long season of uninterrupted work 
before me ; with, thank God, good health and fair spirits for the prospect 
God bless you. Tours affectionately, R. S." / 

Sir Charles Wolseley was sufficiently notorious in those days, but 
now nobody remembers him. Few of us have even read about the 
meeting of fifteen thousand non-electors in the summer of 1819, who 
elected him their " legislatorial attorney and representative for Bir- 


1825- ax. 

mmgham n ; and the arrest for sedition that followed, or the sentence 
of imprisonment he was still undergoing while Southey wrote, inter- 
ests no one now. But we know all of us still too well what generally 
had characterized that infamous year of Six-acts and Peterloo-riots to 
be very tolerant of the eagerness of one of its radical heroes thus to 
make terms with Castlereagh for a trip out of jail into Italy as a 
spy and informer in even the interest of the unfortunate queen. 
Landor saw the thing apparently in that light, and cared no longer 
to remember what once he had been so ready to relate of her alleged 
amusements on the Lake of Como. Whether strictly she were guilty 
or innocent had in truth ceased to be the question by this time. The 
great body of the people had declared upon her side ; and whatever 
Landor's former statements or the use made of them might have 
been, in what he now sent to one of her hottest partisans in society, 
to be published by her most powerful advocate in the press, he was 
guilty of nothing for which he had call to be ashamed. 

His next letter to Southey, written in the month (November, 
1820) when the bill of pains and penalties had to be abandoned, 
tells what he did ; and as it was done at the moment of receiving 
Wolseley's letter, by the time Southey knew it all the readers of the 
Times knew it too, and what he woidd fain even then have prevented 
was past recall. 

" I had hardly given myself time to read your letter when I wrote the 
following to the editor of the Times, and enclosed a copy of it to Dr. Parr. 
As there is a possibility that the editor of the Times may not insert my 
letter, I send you a copy of it 

ceived this day an extract from a letter addressed by 
reagh, and inserted in the Times, containing these words : " I have an opportunity of get- 
ting at evidence that would be of the greatest consequence, that no Englishman bus 
myself and a Mr. Walter Landoa, who is now in Italy, can have had the same opportunity 
of knowing." Sir, whatever I may have heard relating to the queen, I know nothing 
positive, and never made a single inquiry that could either inculpate or acquit her in 
the cause now pending. Were she engaged, to my knowledge, in correspondence 
with the enemies of the country, it would be my duty to inform the king's ministers; 
but the secrets of the bedchamber and the escritoire have never been the subject of my 
investigation. An extreme anxietv to deliver my name from all contact with such 
persons as cither formed or directed* the committee at Milan urges me to publish this 
avowal, no less than the letter of Sir Ch. Wolseley. During my residence on the 
Lnke of Como my time was totally occupied in literary pursuits; and I believe no man 
of that character was ever thougnt worthy of employment by the present administra- 
. tion. Added to which, I was insulted by an Italian "domestic of the queen, and I de- 
manded from her in vain the punishment of the aggressor. This alone, which might 
excite and keep alive the most active resentment in many others, would impose eternal 
silence on me. Whether such is or ought to be my character, the aueen's servants may 
learn from Dr. Parr and the king's from Mr. Southey, two friends of whom I should 
find it difficult to say whether they are more firmly attached to mo or more affection- 
ately beloved. I desire that in future the name of a Mr. Walter London may not be 
united with a Sir Ch. WoUeUg. I am, sir, &c, Walter Savage Laxdor." 

" I lament that Parr should take so active a part in favor of that woman. 
Never did I entertain a doubt of her guilt and infamy ; but those wretches 
are more guilty and more infamous Who .employ false keys in bedrooms and 
escritoires. Such is the intelligence we read here of the Milan committee. 

JZT. 40-46.] AGAIN AT PISA. 287 

God forbid that any Englishman should have employed this Ompteda on so 
scandalous and abominable an action. Had Brougham's brother entered 
my house, the interview would have been short, and both standing. I ad- 
mire the impudence of Wolseley. He attempted to defend the doings of 
the princess, but never hinted a thought of her innocence when I constantly 
represented her* what all Italy knows her to be, not indeed with legal 
proofs (such are almost impossible in similar cases), but according to all ap- 
pearances year after year. Yet if a court of justice called on me to give 
evidence, I should givemy evidence according to the orders and spirit pf 
our laws, and say that, not knowing her guilty, I am not authorized to 
prejudice her : proofs alone constitute guilt. If you have interest with the 
editor of the Courier, and he admits what is impartial and honest, I should 
be heartily glad to see inserted in that paper the letter I address to the 
editor of the limes" 

In the same letter he describes some of the results of the Holy 
/ Alliance, then in full action on the Continent ; and says he has been 
trying his hand against it in an oration written in Italian ! 


" I am delighted both at the spirit and the wisdom of Spain, Portugal, and 
Naples. They recur to old and wise institutions, and defeat by this re- 
currence the madness both of monarchical and democratical ambition. I 
am printing at Naples a paper to show the present state of representative 
government I lay down only two principles : one, that there are no 
degrees of liberty, and that /cm? representatives are enough; the other, that 
whatever nation has really its representatives is free, whatever has not is 
not Although I would not, in England, destroy (for I tremble at a void 
in all things) the House of Peers, 1 would by no means recommend the 
erection 01 one where institutions have grown up without it The Senate 
was the subversion of Rome by its cupidity and injustice ; and the House 
of Lords ruined the English government by its blind acquiescence in the 
outrages of Qharles L I would wish to see a government where no man or 
body of men has interests opposite to or beyond the interests of the people. 
But in politics how many articles of faith ought to be held in secret ! I will 
wait for my sheet of Italian, and send it with the other books. You per- 
haps will think it intemperate ; in England it would be so , but England 
has a government to defend, Naples is creating one ; England is safe and 
unassailable, Naples is threatened and insecure. Added to which, it is 
necessary on the Continent to warn the representative government and the 
despotic, and to persuade them, if possible, to form a league for their 
mutual defence. In your letter you say nothing of your little boy, yet 
there is no intemperate weather that I do not think of him." 


" I received the books about six weeks ago, if my recollection is right, 
and wrote immediately to Wordsworth a letter of thanks, waiting to hear 
from you whether I might send the heavy folios. They shall be despatched 
by the first English ship from Leghorn. ... In whatever Wordsworth 
writes there is admirable poetry ; but I wish he had omitted all that pre- 
cedes * There was a time ' (p. 9) in Peter BelL The first poet that ever 
( wrote was not a more original poet than he is, and the best is hardly a 



One may see a little personal weakness in that objection. A whole 
half of the famous prologue he would have dropped, and among the 
lines so condemned are these : — 

" Swift Mercury resounds with mirth, 
Great Jove is fall of stately bowers; , 

Bat these, and all that they contain, 
What are they to that tiny grain, 
That little earth of ours? " 

Very much were they still, just now indeed the little earth itself 
not nearly so much, to a man who lived his life in the remote far 
more than in the near ; whose mind habitually dwelt in those regions 
of imagination which the homelier poet here designedly had aban- 
doned ; who in his ardor for classic forms was even ready to restrict ) 
himself to classic speech ; and whose volume of poems and idyls 
about ancient deities and heroes, composed in one of the languages 
of antiquity and despatched to England before that letter was writ- 
ten, reached Keswick almost at the very time when Peter Bell and i 
his adventures with his ass made their entrance into Pisa, Southey 
was writing at the time the preface to his Vision of Judgment in 
which he made his onslaught on the satanic school, and a passage 
from Landor'e Latin essay came in with apt enforcement of his bitter 
charges against Byron.* Yet neither Latin essay nor Latin poems 
were grateful to him. At both of them, as at his friend's objection 
to the Wordsworth prologue, he doubtless gravely shook his head, 
and gave expression once again to his never-ceasing regret that Lan- 
dor could write so well in a language not comparable to his own. 

Some of these matters find allusion in his next letter, which bears 
date the 8th February, 1821, and which I shall probably be thanked 
for not suppressing. 

" I have received your Latin volume, and in cutting ope% the leaves 
(while the other contents of the parcel are left unexamined) I find my own 
name mentioned in prose and verse in that manner which bringB with it 
the greatest gratification at present, and will bear with it the greatest 
wei ght hereafter. 

"I am printing my History of the Peninsular War. And I am endeavor- 
ing to find how to send you a poem which will be published in about a fort- 

* I will quote the passage. It is interesting in itself; underlying its reference to 
Byron and his eulogists is an important truth too often disregarded ; and it is a good 
specimen of the style as well as matter of the essay. *' Summi poetss in omni poetarum 
sseculo viri fuerunt probi: in nostris id vidimus et videmus; neque alius est error a 
veritate longius quam magna ingenia magnis neeessario corrumpi vitiis. Secundo 
plerique posthabent primum, hi malignitate, illi ignorantia; et quum aliquera inveniunt 
styli morumque vitiis notatum, nee inflcetum tamen nee in libns edendfs parcum, eum 
predicant, stipant, occupant, amplectuntur. Si mores aliquantulum vellet corrigere, 
si stylum curare paululum, si fervido ingenio temperare, si morse tantillum interponere, 
turn ingens nescio quid et vere epicum, quadraginta annos natus, procuderet. Ignorant 
verb febriculis non indicari vires, impatientiam ab imbecillitate non differre: ignorant 
a levi homine et inconstant* multa fortasse scribi posse plusquam mediocria, nihil 
composition, arduum, seternum." Poemata et Jtucnptumeg (1847), pp. 286, 286. The 
title of the essay Landor changed in the later edition from " De Cultu atque On 
Latini Sermonis " to ** Quastio quamobrem Poetse Latin! Recentiores minus legsn- 

XV. 40-46.] AGAIN AT PISA. 289 

night The title is A Vision of Judgment : the personage brought to judg- 
ment is the late king ; and the verse is a metre constructed in imitation of 
the hexameter. The principle of adaptation is, that, as by the Germans, 
the trochee is used for the spondee ; with the further alteration of employ- 
ing any foot of one or two or three syllables in the first place in the verse 
(for the sake of beginning with a short syllable), and occasionally, but with 
a rarer license, in the second, third, or fourth place. I have satisfied my 
own ear, and that of everv person, learned or unlearned, upon whom the 
measure has as yet been tried. There is no one of whose opinion I stand so 
much in doubt as of yours, for you have made yourself ' an antique Roman ' 
in these things ; take, however, the opening of the poem : — 

1 'T was at that sober hour when the light of day is receding, 
And from surrounding things the hues wherewith day has adorned them 
Fade, like the hopes of youth, till the beauty 6f earth is departed, 1 &c. 

You have here a sample* of the measure. The poem is long enough for 
the reader to become accustomed to it, and lose the first sense of its 
strangeness. It is something more than six hundred lines. I expect a hur- 
ricane of abuse, — hurricane-like, from ail quarters ; for among the worthies 
of the late reign I have placed neither Pitt nor Fox. The spirits whom I 
have confronted with the king are Wilkes, Junius, and Washington. If you 
can tolerate the measure, the rest will be sufficiently in accord with your 
feelings. I shall see if I can get a copy sent to you through the Foreign 

" My family, thank God, are well ; but I have recently sustained a great 
shock in the death of my poor friend Nash, who was with me at Como, and 
who, at home and abroad, had spent more than one year out of the last four 
with me. My little boy thrives, and is a fine creature. These are such pre- 
carious blessings that I do not inquire concerning yours without some de- 
gree of fear. 

u Your letter was inserted in the Times. Some parts of it you would 
have altered if you had seen fair statements of the case. The madness is 
now abating ; still, this is the time for the Catholics to attempt the re-estab- 
lishment of their religion ; for if the people of England choose to have such 
a queen, they cannot possibly object to the whore of Babylon. Our minis- 
ters want decision and firmness, but I believe it is not possible for men to 
act with better intentions, nor more uprightly. The Whigs are acting as 
basely as they did in the days of Titus Gates. God bless you. B. S." 

Landor replied on the 1 2th of March, and refers to another child, 
a daughter, recently born to him. This event had been announced to 
his mother on the 6th of the March preceding (1820) as having taken 
place at seven o'clock that evening. " It is the custom at Pisa to 
carry the children to be baptized the very day of their birth, but I 
shall not pay any attention to such foolery." He delayed it, as we 
shall see, till after the date of his present letter to Southey. 


" I hear with great delight that your little boy thrives. My two crea- 
tures have caught a cough from a servant-maid, but are recovering, dear 
hearts. I caught it from them." 

* Thirtv-two lines are thus given; but as they do not differ from the opening of the 
poem as printed, it was not necessary to repeat them here. 


290 fibst six yejbs in italy. ^-i* 

southbt's vision op judgment : oborgb in., Junius, and Washington*. 

" Your hexameters have sharpened my appetite for the remainder. As I 
know nothing of German, it is the first time I ever read any, and only re- 
member that von once repeated a single sentence. I am afraid the poetry 
has made me a convert to the measure. You manage it with wonderful 
address, and there is only one verse that I found necessary to read twice: 
' For it tells of mortality always,' &c. 

" I pitied more sincerely than many of the courtiers the dreadful affliction 
of the late king, but I never felt much respect or esteem for him : first, 
because he was too prompt in undertaking the American and French war, 
the one most nefarious, the other most impolitic ; and because he pocketed 
from the duchy of Cornwall the property of his son, and permitted the affair 
to come before Parliament under so shallow a pretext as that of a claim for 
the expenses of his education. He was also insincere. The Marquis of 
Rockingham told Lord Shelburne, Lord Shelburne told Colonel Barry, and 
Colonel Barry told me, the following anecdote. Lord Buckingham had 
never been cordially or indeed more than coldly received by him, and was 
greatly surprised and gratified at a favorable change of manner. A few 
days afterwards he was deprived of office. He mentioned (I forget to 
whom) the king's cordiality on such a day, and it was discovered that on 
that very morning it was resolved to deprive him of his place. Parr told 
me that he had heard the same anecdote, and I think he added from Fox. 
I believe Junius to be Burke, well knowing the versatility of his style, and 
observing that neither he nor his friends are mentioned in the letters. The 
objection that they are too uniformly correct and elegant weighs lightly 
with me. He had not room for extravagance in the compass of a letter ; he 
was forced into consistency and compactness. It is reported with great 
confidence that Sir Joshua Reynolds prevailed with him to correct his dis- 
courses. Now any one of these is surely worth all the letters of Junius both 
for materials and workmanship. I tremble at the vicinity of such a rascal as 
Wilkes to Washington. I believe Washington to excel both in political and 
military wisdom all men except Gustavus Adolphus. Surely never had 
human being such difficulties to overcome ; and now difficult, how nearly 
impossible, how utterly so to any but himself, to give ductility to such 
drossy materials ! " 



" I entertain no fear whatever that the woman of Cernobbio will intro- 
duce her sister of Babylon. That bloated ringdropper, that bastard of milli- 
ner and perfumer, has long ago lost her charms for Englishmen. Surely it 
is absurd to deprive men of a seat in Parliament because they believe iiit 
transubstantiation. It is quite enough if they swear that they will obey no j 
person whatever in any act opposing the authority of king and Parliament; 
For my own part I could just as easily believe that I seal this letter with a 
god, as that I eat and drink one. Now the English Church says that 4 the 
body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken in the Lord's Supper.' 
It is childish to draw any line between two absurdities so enormous. I am 
firmly of opinion that no danger whatever can arise to England from the 
reception of the Catholics into Parliament, nor (however odious the name 
has become) from a radical reform. In the last years of the war I would 
have opposed such a measure as strenuously as any of the ministers, know- 
ing the infatuation of some men in favor of Bonaparte, and the indifference 
of others to any calamity or disgrace that the nation might suffer, provided 

JET. 40-46.] AGAIN AT PISA. 291 

. they could oome into the possession of wealth and power. I rejoiced in the 
I Battle of Waterloo, but I dreaded from that moment the reaction under 
which the Continent groans. Austria promised to Lombardy a representa- 
tive government, and Prussia promised it to all the states of that crown. 
How basely have the people been deceived I Sicily had begun to respire 
under a liberal government The king abrogated the whole system. His 
troops, who saw the good effects of it, no sooner returned into Italy than 
the whole body of the officers united with those they had lately fought 
against, and at present there are not ten families in Naples even suspected 
of any propensity towards despotism. 11 


" I have written three orations exposing the duplicity of the Atteati Santi 
(as the Neapolitans call them), the danger to which all constitutional gov- 
ernments are exposed, and the inexpediency, not to say impossibility, of 
forming a House of Lords. With due praises to the moral character of the 
English aristocracy, I have remarked that their two most memorable acts are 
their opposition to the repeal of the slave-trade, and their miserable weak- 
ness and indecision in the affair of the queen. I have observed that to form 
a House of Lords materials are required which are not to be found anywhere 
in Europe, out of England, not even in Venice ; that they must be of long 
growth, strong fibre, great girth, and well seasoned. Much of the two 
nrst editions was omitted by a most indiscreet and foolish editor. I have 
ordered another to be printed, with a third letter. The first edition was 
distributed gratis ; of the second I know nothing but its mere existence in 
the same incomplete form. I was surprised and vexed that the box of 
books 1 had not left Leghorn, and am now pleased that I may enclose some 
copies of this work." # 

That is one of his works of which there is now no trace, except in 
passages of his later dialogues ; and the letter closes with mention of 
another of his perished undertakings. Upon the questions of poetry 
and criticism opened up in Wordsworth's prefaces he had planned a 
Latin essay supplementary to the treatise prefixed to his Latin poems ; 
and " I have finished," he tells Southey, " my translation of Words- 
worth's criticisms, saying in the preface that I had taken whatever I 
wanted from him, with the same liberty as a son eats and drinks in 
his father's house ... I wish," he abruptly adds, " I had some thou- 
sand pounds to spare, as I had when the Spaniards rose against Bo- 
naparte, that what I offered to them I might offer to the Neapolitans." 
The revolt at Naples, it is hardly necessary to add, was but one of 
the series of demands for representative government that arose in va- 
jrious parts of the Continent in that and the preceding year, and to 
which Landor'8 sympathy had been eagerly offered in the " orations " 
composed, printed, and circulated during the last weeks of his resi- 
dence at Pisa. It was a natural reaction against the repressive sys- 
tem established on the fall of Napoleon, and, though in itself short- 
lived, was not without permanent results. Very soon thrust down 
again in Spain, in Portugal, in Naples, in Piedmont, even in Turkey, 
to which the movement had extended, it led directly to the indepen- 
dence of Brazil, to the recognition by England of the South American 



republics, and to the Greek revolution. In the excitements caused 
by these events no man shared more largely than Landor. 


In April, 1821, resolved not to pass that summer at Pisa, Landor 
had come to Florence in search of a house. A letter from his mother 
I had reached him as he started on his journey, and from Florence he 
answered it. She had told him that there could not now be many 
more days for her at Ipsley, which would soon have to prepare for its 
new master. But he says nay to that, and prays that many more 
summers there may yet be hers. 

" The misery of not being able to see you is by far the greatest I have 
ever suffered. Never shall I forget the thousand acts of kindness and 
affection I have received from you from my earliest to my latest days. I 
have deferred the christening of my little daughter because I wished to 
have one to be named after you, and to whom I might request you to be 
godmother. As perhaps I may never have another, I shall call my little 
Julia by the name of Julia Elizabeth Savage Landor, and with your per- 
mission will engage some one of Julia's English friends to represent you. 
This is the first time I was ever a whole day without seeing Arnold. I won- 
der what his thoughts are upon the occasion. Mine are a great deal 
more about him than about the house I must look for. He is of all living 
creatures the most engaging, and already repeats ten of the most beautiful 
pieces of Italian poetry. The honest priest his master says he is a miracle 
and a tnarvel, and exceeds in abilities all he ever saw or heard o£ He 
turns into ridicule every person that speaks bad Italian. What a pity it is 
that such divine creatures should ever be men and subject to regrets and 
sorrows! Julia is thin and weak, but is without any particular complaint, 
and is recommended to change the air for the summer, as Pisa lies low and 
is abandoned by all the inhabitants in the warm season. There are some 
Austrians in Florence, but not many. They are a great annoyance when- 
ever they go ; in fact, foreign soldiers are nowhere favorites." 

Well might he so acknowledge the letter she had written to him, 
for it told him what the result had been of her always tender and 
proud thought of him, as well as of all her prudent savings in the six 
years that had passed since he quitted England. " Whenever I die 
you will find by my will that the arrears which belong to me from 
the Llanthony property I have given up to you, as it may the sooner 
lessen your embarrassment ; and I hope in time you will come and 
spend the remainder of your life in this country where you have 
many well-wishers, which some time or other you will be convinced 
o£ By my retired way of living I have been enabled to provide com- 
fortably for your sisters ; and whenever I leave this world you will 
find your property improved by my having kept all in good ^epair. ,, 
She describes the most recent purchases made by her for the various 
farms, and pleasantly adds : " As I cut no timber for the repairs, I 
depend on you, for my sake, not to cut any down, as the timber is 
the beauty of Ipsley." This was a point of character with her. Be- 


plying afterwards to that Florence letter of his, she hopes the place 
may suit him better than Pisa ; and indeed she thinks it may be a 
healthy situation enough ; but as for beauty, " no place can be truly 
beautiful without fine trees, which I suppose in Italy you seldom 

Her letters, shrewd in all they observe upon, and homely in most 
of their applications, are full of character of this kind. Excellent in 
their descriptions of the country, and models of good sense and clev- 
erness in everything pertaining to the cultivation of her farms, they 
contain little politics and less literature ; yet never anything as to 
either that her son might not read with a smile. " Doctor Parr, ,, 
she says in one of them, offer describing with a whimsical good- 
humor the excitement about the queen, — " Doctor Parr is made her 
domestic chaplain. I think at his time of life he might have been 
quiet at home." In another she relates her having met " Mr. Moore 
the poet, who speaks very highly of your Count Julian, which he had 
been reading and was quite delighted with." In a third she tells 
him of the king's death and of the Duke of Kent's, reading him a 
motherly lecture on the fact that the duke's had been caused by 
" sitting in wet boots and taking cold." She never names Llanthony 
as by possibility to be ever his future home, but dwells always upon 
Ipsley. There is a very pleasing letter where she describes the gar- 
dens there and the beauty of them, and in which she hopes, it being so 
much more retired than Tachbrooke, it will be his residence for a 
part of every year when he returns. Some of the pictures at Llan- 
thony he had been fondest of, she tells him, had been bought for him 
by his brother Henry, and they were now placed at Ipsley as heir- 
looms.' "For I do so wish you, dear Walter," she adds with a 
touching simplicity, " some time hence to be able to return and find 
as much pleasure here as I have done these many years." That was 
two years before she announced to him the result of her generous 
savings \ and in the letter of the present year containing it and lately 
quoted, there is a mention of the last book he had sent over to her 
vhich in its homely way might have convinced him, as he was already 
beginning even to think for himself, that what he gained bore no pro- 
portion to what he lost by writing his poetry in the Latin tongue. 
After telling him that she expects at her age soon to leave the world, 
that she is now seventy-seven, and had enjoyed health so long she could 
not expect it much longer, she tells him the book he had sent her 
had arrived safely, "and is thought by the learned to be a very 
delightful book; but one cannot read it, to understand it, one's 

Landor wrote two more letters to Southey before he finally pitched 
his tent in Florence, and from these the following extracts are given. 
The " little work " referred to, of which I have found no other exist- 
ing trace, was a copy in English of his Italian orations against the 
Holy Alliance. 

294: riBST six tears in italt. ^£5- ™ 



" At last the box of books is on its way to England, after a parcel, coo 
tabling twenty-four volumes, bad been robbed from the house at Leghorn \a 
which they were consigned. There were some suspicions as to the thief] 
and ten of the worst are since discovered. Nistri, who bound them, saw 
them in a shop at Pisa, too late, however, to send them with the rest I 
have requested Longman to open the box, and to print what T have written 
on the present state of constitutional governments. The system of Bona- 
parte seems to be adopted by Russia and Austria ; and I am convinced that,! 
unless our government is both more energetic and more liberal, no partkie 
of sound and rational government will remain in Europe. I hope no differ 
ence of opinion will prevent Longman from publishing my little work, al 
though a part of its interest may be lost by the sudden change in the affairs 
of Naples. I distrusted the people in office there ; my praises were exlior 
tations. I did not think it proper to omit anything I had written. What 
is durable may be founded on what is transitory. There are at Pisa nearly 
two hundred young Greeks studying medicine, or what is called humanity, 
but mostly medicine. One of these visited me, after reading what I bad 
written on the affairs of Naples, and he alone was intrusted with the secret 
of the Greek insurrection. I allude to it in a sentence in the second or 
third part. No other man in Italy knew anything of the design. Few of 
the Greeks are younger than twenty-five or thirty, and they are remarkably 
studious. From what I can collect, the Greeks were treated by the Turk-| 
ish government with great humanity and justice, and their impositions 
were extremely light Woe betide them if they fall under Austria, Russia, 
or any other power. I am told that the people of the Adriatic Islands arc 
extremely discontented under England. I know not how it happens, bet 
England certainly is more bated than any other power, ancient or modern, 
by her colonies and dependencies. Nothing can exceed the rage, of the 
Italians at what they call the perfidy of England towards Naples. I see 
no perfidy ; I see much cowardice and baseness, and such as. will end in 
war. If Russia is permitted to possess anything either in the Adriatic or 
Mediterranean, she will be able to turn the balance of power against us in 
that quarter. And that she would have permitted the aggrandizement of 
Austria without the certainty of an equivalent is improbable in the last de- 
gree. To have permitted this collusion is one among the crimes against 
humanity which will cause the downfall of England. The people of Tus- 
cany are contented ; they live under a mild and most amiable prince. Yet 
Austria sends 10,000 troops to live at Florence, and the number for all Italy 
is to be 125,000. Five regiments are enough to keep all Italy in subjec- 
tion: nothing can exceed the cowardice of this people. ' 


" I have not received your dialogues, which I look for anxiously. We 
are sailing, I think, in different directions. " Vela dare atque iterare cursia 
cogor relictos,' by the winds that predominate here. God grant that one or 
the other of us may be able to do some good. All hope that England can 
ever be what she was before the administration of Pitt is vain and futile. 
There never was a time when her inhabitants were more vicious, more un- 
happy, or more divided. They act with all the folly and desperation of met. 
who have nothing left, neither goods nor credit Your judgments, formed 



on the spot, must be more correct than mine. What is going on throughout 
the Continent seems to be intended by Providence for the population of 



(< I am inclined to believe that you have written to me since my last from 
Pisa, not ^owever without some suspicion that this among others may have 
miscarried. The Neapolitan war is a sufficient plea for the roguery, of cer- 
tain men here, who indulge their curiosity and malice under the mask of 
duty. There is not a viler scoundrel than a certain Fossombronio, formerly 
a surveyor, now minister of the foreign affairs. I have collected various 
anecdotes of this fellow, formerly a violent partisan of the French,* and 
among the rest his habit of detaining the letters of those foreigners who, 
from their acquirements or virtues, may reasonably be suspected of the 
power and inclination to treat him as he deserves. Remittances from bank- 
ers have been detained a month or more at his office." 


" Longman has not thought it worth his while to give me any information 
about the work I sent to be printed. I am very sorry for it, as it contains 
remarks of great utility and perfect novelty, useful indeed at all times, but 
most materially so at the present. I am informed that I should have done 
better if I had sent it to Mawman, who would have executed it gladly." 


" I am happy to understand that the coronation has been performed with- 
out any popular disturbance. Surely if that woman whom the ministers 
are pleased to call queen continues to excite disturbances, she will be at last 
coerced. Were I a magistrate, I should not hesitate to commit her to 
Bridewell. I hope to hear that you have written an ode on the coronation. 
In itself a coronation can raise but small enthusiasm in a poet: the circum- 
stances are everything, and never were they so momentous as now." 


" I cannot sleep for the Greeks. They disturb my rest more than the 
Sultan's, but with very different sensations. On the news of Bonaparte's 
death the festivities at court were suspended. His brother-in-law, Borghese, 
did not however put on mourning. He resides entirely at Florence. The 
grand duke was persuaded by his ministers to marry the sister of his son's 
wife, who was also desirous that, if he married any one. it should be her. 
She is far from beautiful, and the bridegroom appears melancholy. In fact 
he loved the Duchess of Lucca's daughter, a sweet, amiable, and lovely 
girl. The ministers must have been fools, or something worse, to persuade 
him : for neither his son's wife, nor her sister the Queen of Spain, has chil- 
dren. Yet they pretended it was to secure the succession in Lis family, the 
hereditary prince being sickly. In fact, it was to secure their own power, — 
the secret of policy in all ministers." 


u We have had a few days of intense heat, but, I thank Q-od, it has not 
affected the children. I wish to hear what you are doing. Ail the accounts 


I received from England are distressing, particularly the report made by the 
committee of the House of Commons on the state of the landed interest. 
A reduction is spoken of in the payment of public offices of fifteen per cent 
in the quarter. Now provisions being fifteen per cent cheaper than when 
these places were given, this is no reduction at all My opinion is that no 
offices, except the kingly and the judges, should exceed £ 1,500 a year. 
I would give the chancellor £ 3.000, the judges £ 2,500. Ambassadors 
should be chosen from elevated and wealthy men, as elsewhere. T^hat com- 
missaries and consuls should be better paid than admirals and generals would 
be utterly incredible, if anything like reason were admitted into our expen- 
diture. Farewell, and pray let me hear soon from you. When will Words- 
worth publish the remainder of his great poem ? " 

Before Southey replied on that latter point, Wordsworth had himself 
answered Landor's question. His letter was dated at the beginning of 
September, 1821, and spoke of both the published and the unpublished 
portion of his celebrated poem. " The Excursion is proud of your ap- 
probation. The Recluse has had a long sleep, save in my thoughts. 
My manucripts are so ill-penned and blurred that they are useless 
to all but myself : and at present I cannot face them. But if my 
stomach can be preserved in tolerable order, I hope you will hear of 
me again, in the character chosen for the title of that poem." Not 
simply to tell Landor this, however, but to speak of the Latin poems 
and dissertation,* and explain why they had not earlier been ac- 
knowledged, was the principal intent of Wordsworth's letter. He had 
been suffering from an irritation in his eyes that had disabled him 
lately from reading and writing, but he had not been unmindful or 
ungrateful ; and chary as he was of praising even those among con- 
temporary poets who had the strongest claims on his personal re- 
gard, we are entitled fairly to accept as of peculiar significance and 
weight what he now said to Landor of the author of Gebir and 
Count Julian. 

" It is high time I should thank you for the honorable mention 
you have made of me. It could not but be grateful to me to be 
praised by a poet who has written verses of which I would rather have 
been the author than of any produced in our time. And what I now 
thus write to you I have frequently said to many.* 1 

Of the Latin poems he afterwards speaks, and, with a simple 
gravity not unamusing, upholds as a time-honored custom the habit 
of writers writing in their native tongue. He had felt himself 
greatly honored by the present of Landor's book. " It arrived at a 
time when I had the use of my eyes for reading, and with great 
pleasure did I employ them in the perusal of the dissertation an- 
nexed, which I read several times. The poems themselves, however, 
I have not been able to look into, for I was seized with a fit of com- 
position at that time, and deferred the pleasure to which they invited 
tne till I could give them an undivided attention. But alas ! the 

• See onto) pp. 278, 179, 288. 



complaint in my eyes, to which I have been occasionally subject for 
several years past, suddenly returned ; and I have since suffered 
from hVas already mentioned." Referring then to the somewhat sin- 
gular circumstances in which they were living at Rydal Mount, in 
solitude during nearly nine months of the year, and for the rest in a 
round of engagements, he says that having nobody near him that 
reads Latin he can only speak of the essay from recollection ; but Landor 
will not perhaps feel surprised to be told that he differs in opinion as 
to the propriety of the Latin language being used by moderns for 
works of taste and imagination. " Miserable would have been the 
lot of Dante, Ariosto, and Petrarch, if the£ had preferred the 
Latin to their mother tongue (there is, by the by, a Latin translation 
of Dante which you do not seem to know ) ; and what could Milton, 
who was surely no mean master of Latin, have made of his Paradise 
Lost f had that vehicle been employed instead of the language of 
the Thames and Severn I Should we even admit that all modern 
dialects are comparatively changeable, and therefore limited in their 
efficacy, may not the sentiment which Milton bo pleasingly ex- 
presses when he says he is content to be read in his native isle only, 
be extended to durability 1 and is it not more desirable to be read with 
affection and pride and familiarity for five hundred years by all 
orders of minds and all ranks of people, in your native tongue, than 
only by a few scattered scholars for the space of three thousand 1 
My frequent infirmity moreover gives me an especial right to urge 
this argument. Had your Idylliums been in English, I should long 
ere this have been as well acquainted with them as with your Gebir 
and with your other poems ; . and now I know not how long they 
may remain to me a sealed book." 

Particular points in the dissertation then recur to him, as, warned 
by his failing sight, he proceeds to dictate the remainder of his let- 
ter to Mrs. Wordsworth. A hundred things he had met with in 
it which fell in with his own sentiments and judgments ; but there 
were also many he should like to talk over with Landor. He thinks 
the arrangement or " ordonnance " of the essay might be improved ; 
and that several of its separate remarks, though perfectly just, as in 
particular those upon Virgil, being yet details that obstruct the 
view of the whole, would perhaps have been better placed in notes 
or an appendix. " Vincent Bourne surely is not so great a favorite 
with you as he ought to be. Though I acknowledge there is ground 
for your objection upon the score of ultra-concinnity (a queer word 
for a female pen, Mrs. Wordsworth has boggled at it), yet this ap- 
plies only to a certain portion of his longs and shorts. Are you not 
also penurious in your praise of Gray % The fragment at the com- 
mencement of his fourth book in which he laments the death of 
West, in cadence and sentiment touches me in a manner for which I 
am grateful. The first book also of the same poem appears to me 
as well executed as anything of that kind is likely to be. Is not 


there a speech of Solon to which the concluding couplet of Gray's 
sonnet bears a more pointed resemblance than to any of the passages 
you have quoted ? He was told not to grieve for the loss of his son, 
as tears would be of no avail * And for that very reason,' replied 
he, ' do I weep.' " 

Not many days after receiving this letter* Landor had succeeded 
in settling himself in the Palazzo Medici in Florence, and was now 
to rest awhile from his wanderings. To the cities he has lived in 
during the six unsettled years, and to incidents not recorded in the 
letters quoted above, allusions are scattered through his writings 
that need not here be reproduced. The little children in the cart on 
the campo santo at Pisa, the dispute about the damp walls in the 
lodgings at Pistoia, the visit to the palace of the Odeschalchi at 
Como, will be remembered by readers familiar with the Conversations. 
Suffice it only to add that Como seems to have been his favorite 
resting-place before he found his home in Florence, and that with 
the little turreted city he had associations he was always fond of 
recalling. There he had received the visits of Southey, of Bekker, 
and of the brave descendants of the Jovii ; there, in talking daily 
with one of its residents, " the calm philosophical Sironi," he had 
found what seemed to him no imperfect type of the Roman of an- 
tiquity ; and there, or as he had made his first journey there, he had 
seen the most venerable object in the most interesting spot of an- 
cient Italy, the cypress standing on the spot where Hannibal fought 
his nipt battle with Scipio. This, he would say, was one of the two 
things best worth seeing in all the country, the other being the 
statue at the base of which Caesar felL 



Southey's project of writing a Book of Dialogues, first mentioned 
not many letters back and since more than once referred to, had con- 
firmed Landor in a project of his own entertained for a longer time. 1 
It was not a new thought with him ; but the circumstances in which 
he now took it up, and the particular form it assumed, had a result 
very memorable. 

The bent of his genius, it is hardly necessary to say, lay in the 
direction of Dialogue, and the peculiarities of his temperament led 
him the same way. It was his first design after trial of his strength 

* I give its closing sentence*. " Were I able to recur to your book, I should tres- 
pass further upon your time, which however might prove little to your advantage. I 
saw Mr. Southey yesterday at his own house. He has not had his usual portion of re- 
laxation this summer, an<f looked, I thought, a little pale in consequence. His Httle 
boy is a stout and healthy child, and his other children have in general good health. 
though at present a little relaxed by the few days of extreme heat With best wishes 
for your health and happiness, I remain, my dear air, most sincerely yours, Wx. 



in Gebir. He had projected a series of tragic scenes in his early 
days of friendship with Mocatta. His Count Julian was a succession 
of dialogues in verse, as, was doubtless also the tragedy sacrificed to 
appease its ill-fortune, Ferrante and Giulio.* In his comedy of the 
Charitable Dowager he had given himself the same indulgence in' 
prose. The very form, as of an ancient oration or address in the 
pnyx or agora, into which he had thrown his recent commentaries on 
home and foreign politics, whether written in English or Italian, ex- 
pressed still that direction of his mind. At the bottom of it all was 
the strong sense of his own individuality which made so large a part 
of his character, and which he thus with the greatest advantage 
could bring into play. For the same form of writing most often used 
to conceal one's personality is also that which may be employed with 
the greatest success to indulge in peculiarities intensely personal 
without the ordinary conditions or restraints. 

When a man writes a dialogue he has it all to himself, the pro and 
the con, the argument and the reply. Within the shortest given 
space of time he may indulge in every possible variety of mood. He 
may contradict himself every minute. In the same page without 
any sort of violence the most different shades of sentiment may find 
expression. Extravagance of statement which in other forms could 
not be admitted may be freely put forth. Dogmas of every descrip- 
tion may be dealt in, audaciously propounded or passionately opposed, 
with a result all the livelier in proportion to the mere vehemence ex- 
pended on them. In no other style of composition is a writer so free 
from orderly restraints upon opinion, or so absolved from self-control. 
Better far than any other it adapts itself to eagerness and impatience. 
Dispensing with preliminaries, the jump in median res may at once 
be taken safely. That one thing should be unexpectedly laid aside, 
and another as capriciously taken up, is quite natural to it ; the sub- 
jects being few that may not permissibly branch off into all the 
kindred topics connected with them, when the formalities held ordi- 
narily necessary in the higher orders of prose composition have dis- 
appeared in the freedom of conversation. 

How far such a style or method would be found suitable to the 
weakness as well as the strength of the character depicted in these 
pages, the reader has the means of judging. By many it may be 
thought that I have supplied such means too amply. But if the 
wish for whose gratification the papers here printed were given jne 
bf my old friend was to be complied with at all, I could not con- 
sent so to use them as to convey an imperfect or a false impression. 
Thus' far, up to his forty-fifth year, through the full half of a life 
prolonged far beyond the allotted term, Landor stands before the - 
reader, riot perhaps completely yet not partially or unfairly depicted, ' 
and in the main by himself. He desired nothing so much as that 
some record having claim to be remembered of his early intercourse 

* * Arte, pp. 188, 184. See also pp. 178, 174. 



with Southey, and as far as possible of the letters they interchanged, 
should be made by me ; and with the materials afforded I have done 
my best in such a manner to comply, as, while it satisfied that wish, 
should do offence as little to the patience of the living as to the mem- 
ory of the dead. 

Upon the latter point my chief hesitation has been whether it was 
advisable to revive the Llanthony disputes or to tell again the story 
of the Bethams. But by omission of the former I should have lost 
some illustrations of character important in their bearing on the later 
passages of Landor's career ; the other narrative was necessary to 
explain his sudden exile from England ; and in giving effect to his 
own wish that both should be retained, I have been careful to take no 
part in the quarrels they involve. Such also would have been to him 
the course most pleasing ; for he was never indifferent to the truth 
even at the times when he failed with accuracy himself to recollect 
it, and he thought always he could afford to have it frankly told bet- 
ter than any imperfect or garbled representation of it. I remember 
his anger at some remarks upon him by Mr. De Quincey in which 
the " fiery radiations " of his spirit were enlarged upon, and he was 
described as a man intended by nature to be a leader in storms, a 
martyr, a national reformer, or an arch-rebel, but whom the accident 
of possessing too much wealth had turned into a solitary unsympa- 
thizing exile. Nor was his anger less at reading an anecdote of him- 
self, I think by the same writer, wherein he was said to have sold, 
out of mere offence at the conduct of some of his tenants, what his 
ancestors had held as their patrimony for 700 years. In both state- 
ments, as in many similar ones made since his death, fact and fiction 
had become so oddly intermixed as only to be clearly separable bj 
such detail as I have given. 

What there is in either that has a bearing on his real character 
will be to any who has read these pages obvious enough ; and he 
would himself have been the last to object to any one who said of 
him, that whether better or worse than his fellows it had at least 
been too much his boast to be other than they. From the days of 
his boyhood this was his fault At school, at home, at college, con- 
scious always of powers that doubtless received but scant acknowl- 
edgment, he contracted such a habit of looking down upon every- 
body that he lost altogether the power, which the very wisest may 
least afford to lose, of occasionally looking down upon himself. Ev- 
erything was to begin or to be altered anew for him, he was to be 
more sagacious than his elders, judge better than anybody what was 
best for himself, indulged unchecked whatever humors pleased him, 
and glorying that he was not cast in the mould -of other men's opin- 
ions, find nothing that it became him to object to in his own, provided 
only they were sufficiently wild, irregular, singular, and extreme. The 
contradictions in such a character as this, its generous as well as its 
selfish points, its comic and its tragic incidents, are necessarily marked 


with more prominence than in the ordinary rim of men ; and almost 
everything will depend upon the side you approach it from. 4 

Those Llanthony disputes it is impossible to review altogether 
with gravity, though they are a comedy with a very tragical fifth act 
But until, by Betham's utter failure and break-down in his payments, 
the serious element comes in suddenly, we can only see, in the entire 
tenor of that life at Llanthony, another phase or development of a 
career curiously consistent in' its inconsistencies. It began with the 
old difficulty of co-operating in the ordinary way with ordinary I 
human beings. He doubtless had the best designs in the world I 
when he persisted in claiming the right as a grand-juryman to act in- 1 
dependently of his fellow-jurors in presenting for investigation 
alleged crimes in no way previously the subject of charge or inquiry ; 
but, in contesting such a claim, his fellow-jurors had common sense 
as well as custom on their side. Every reason, public and private, 
supported his demand to be placed in the commission of the peace ; 
but those who had to act with him in such a capacity might not un- 
reasonably object to an impracticable colleague. No one, in short, 
was half the trouble to him at Llanthony that he began by being to 
himself. Everything that followed had this for its source. In pri- 
vate and in public affairs his plan of proceeding was on the same ec- 
centric principle of differing as widely as he could from everybody 
else. He was never beyond the control of the mood that possessed 
him for the moment ; and though it was easy, by humoring this, to 
continue friendly with him, it was yet easier to quarrel with him by 
opposing it, in however slight a degree. Of course he began by exhib- 
iting an unwise excess of kindness and concession to Betham. To 
Southey's friend he could not do less. He never refused him, as he \ 
says, any request however unreasonable ; he conceded them more- ' 
over in that grand style which makes the receiver seem to be confer- 
ring the favor ; and it was the man's own complaint, when the un- 
reasonableness had arrived at the point of not paying anything he 
was under obligation to pay, that there was no conceivable indul- 
gence he had not been taught to rely upon at Landor's hands. Then 
came discovery on both sides ; on the one that some rent^ must be 
paid or the farms given up, on the other that there was a limit to 
those wonderful resources of which an impression so boundless had 

• " I doubt whether among all your acquaintances," -wrote Mr. Robert Landor to me, 
" yon have ever known any two men more unlike each other than my brother as |p 
appeared when paying his customary visits to von or Mr. Kenyon, so joyous, so benev- 
olent then, and as he proved to be in his father's house while young, or in his own 
when twenty years older. Where there was no disrespect, but only a difference of 
opinion on some subject of no consequence whatever, I once heard him tell an old lady 
(my father's guest, but in mv father's absence) that she was a damned fool. If you 
a*k why such an anecdote should be related by me, I must reply that there may be 
still living many persons, beyond his own family, who still remember such, and would 
contradict any narrative of yours in which the best qualities were remembered, the 
worst forgotten." I had not waited for this appeal to resolve, that, if this memoir 
were written at all, it should contain, as far as might lie within my power, a fair state- 
ment of the truth. 



been conveyed ; and, in the differences that followed, all the advan- 
tage went to the Bide of him who had the coolness to retain it when 
it fell to him. It never falls in such cases to the irritable temper 
and the habit of hasty language, no matter for the consciousness of 
right that has provoked them, or for the freedom from everything 
ungenerous that may accompany them. 

Nor should this subject be quitted in its connection with Lander's 
character without the remark that, when we now look back to the 
most part of what we find that he intended to do, and measure it by 
the means that alone he possessed of doing it, absurd as in some re- 
spects the impression is, there is yet more in the retrospect to please 
and to excuse, at times even to excite admiration, than to ofiend 
Few of his infirmities are without something kindly or generous 
about them ; and we are not long in discovering there is nothing so 
wildly incredible that he will not himself in perfect good faith be- 
lieve. When he published his first book of poems on quitting Ox- 
ford, the profits were to be reserved for a distressed clergyman- 
When he published his Latin poems, the poor of Leipzig were to 
have the. sum they realized. When his comedy was ready to be 
acted, a Spaniard who had sheltered him at Castro was to be made 
richer by it. W nen ne competed for the prize of the Academy of 
Stockholm, it was to. go to the poor of Sweden. If nobody got any- 
thing from any one of these enterprises, the fault at all events was 
not his. With his extraordinary power of forgetting disappoint- 
ments, he was as prepared at each successive failure to start afresh as 
if each had been a triumph. I shall have to delineate this peculiar- 
ity as strongly in the last half as in the first half of his life, and it 
was certainly an amiable one. He was ready at all times to set aside 
out of his own possessions something for somebody who might please 
him for the time ; and when frailties of temper and tongue are noted, 
this other eccentricity should not be omitted. He desired eagerly 
the love as well as the good opinion of those whom for the time he 
esteemed, and wo one was more affectionate while under such influences. 
It is not a small virtue to feel such genuine pleasure as he always 
did in giving and receiving pleasure, for one half cannot be selfish 
His generosity, too, was bestowed chiefly on those who could make 
small acknowledgment in thanks and no return in kind. 

The similarity in habits of mind between himself and Southey was 
pointed out in a previous part of this memoir, and has since had 
illustration from their correspondence. But it will have been seen 
that while both have continued to display the same peculiarity of 
putting in the place of reason their imagination and their passions, 
and of thinking thus and thus by mere force of their will or pleas- 
ure, a wide difference has been declaring itself between the tastes 
and desires which have thus so largely constituted opinion in each. 
Landor's wishes have expanded, while those of Southey have con- 
tracted, under the same influences. It was not ill said, by an acute 


observer who knew them both, that their fault was not that of blind- 
ness to the truth so much as that of indifference to give it welcome 
unless as a discovery or possession of their own ; and that, with the 
possession of what they so desired, satiety ever followed quickly, n 
Napoleon did what they talked, and they hated him. They were \ 
themselves ready enough to pull down sovereignties, but for the man 
who by his own might trampled on the necks of sovereigns they had 
nothing but contempt and dislike. With some modification this was 
true, up to* Napoleon's fall ; but what followed put wide differences 
between them. Every protest against repression at home, every ris- 
ing against reaction abroad, had from Landor as hearty a sympathy 
as it had bitter opposition from Southey. The men had not altered 
in temperament ; but, from altering circumstances, while self-opinion 
in the one had been opening itself to impressions more permanent . 
and universal, in the other it had narrowed itself more and more to \ 
what in his position was merely accidental and personal The dis- 
tinction marks what had thus far been Landor's advantage in his 
exile, in his removal from sordid cares, in his freer observation of the 
life of the present, and in his less restricted commerce with the wis- 
dom of the past. It shows also, as to both, that whatever might 
continue to be their impetuosities of opinion, there was more in Lan- 
dor than in Southey of a stronger spirit of the understanding to give 
body and consistency to such better judgments as he might form. < 
He was indeed preparing himself in banishment and adversity for 
what probably never would have come to him in happier fortune, and 
the result will soon be seen. 

That his opinions were meanwhile separating widely from those of 
his friend he seems to have been anxious that Southey himself should 
know. " We are sailing, I think, in different directions," is his re- 
mark in the letter last quoted, making allusion to the dialogues on 
which both were engaged ; and Southey, replying on almost the same 
day to what he had said in a preceding letter * of the line of argu- 
ment taken by him against including a House of Lords in the consti- 
tution he was recommending for the Italians, gave illustration himself 
of their growing differences. "I have read with all the attention 
in my power what you say against a House of Lords. Perhaps the 
most difficult of all things is to establish a free government among a 
people altogether unused to freedom ; and if they are, as in France 
and Italy, a corrupt people, the difficulty becomes still greater. 
Where you have a representative government, two houses have at 
least the advantage of interposing delay in times of popular excite- 
ment ; they afford something more than an appeal from Philip drunk 
to Philip sober. The House of Lords, since its cowardly conduct in 
the Queen's business, which indicated the same want of fibre that * 
proved fatal to it in the days of the Long Parliament, has performed 
the service .of stopping the question of Catholic emancipation after it 

* Ante, pp. 290, 201. 


had passed the Commons. This is the most important act that it has 
ever performed. For the sure consequences of that emancipation 
would be a religious war in Ireland upon the demand for a dominant 
Roman Catholic establishment, which is the next step : and in Eng- 
land, the repeal of the Test Act ; the intrusion of the dissenters into 
all corporations, their predominancy in all town elections, where the , 
election is not purely popular ; the sale of the tithes ; and so, in sure 
progress through the overthrow of the Church establishment, to gen- 
eral anarchy and spoliation." * To say that upon every allusion here 
made Landor's views were as extreme in the opposite direction, would 
express the truth quite moderately. 

Nevertheless in essential points of temperament thiy continued 
marvellously alike ; and pausing thus between the two divisions of j 
Landor's life, in the hope of drawing from what is gone some help to / 
the better understanding of what is to come, there is one subject on ' 
which a word, may properly be said. Both friends had fallen into a 
habit of applying heathen doctrines and precedents in a manner alarm- 
ingly unsuitable to a Christian commonwealth ; and we see how often 
it has gravely recurred that they could hit upon no better remedy 
than the dagger of Brutus for the treacheries of Ferdinand or the 
tyrannies of Bonaparte. The same vehement extravagance of speech, 
for such only it was, both of them indulged to the end ; it was a port 
of the weakness of temperament, of the * believing without reason and 
hating without p^ovo;cation, , into which, while as to other subjects 
time had mollified them, special subjects always betrayed them ; yet 
if Landor's life had been prolonged but a few months, no man, at the 
murder which then astonished the civilized world and for a time recon- 
ciled all opinions, would have been more shocked than he, and no man 
more indignant to be told that on more than one occasion, without 
even the poor excuse of the excitement of civil war or ofHhe madness 
arising from political defeat and ruin, he had himself seemed to give 
his sanction to the same crime. Nor would his indignation have 
been unreal. A man must be judged, at first, by what he says and 
does. But with him such extravagance as I have referred to was lit- 
tle more than the habitual indulgence (on such themes) of passionate 
feelings and language, indecent indeed but utterly purposeless ; the* 
mere explosion of wrath provoked by tyranny or cruelty ; the irregu-l 
laxities of an overheated steam-engine too weak for its own vapor. It I 
is very certain that no one could detest oppression more truly than 
/ Landor did in all seasons and times ; and if no one expressed that 
scorn, that abhorrence of tyranny and fraud, more hastily or more 
intemperately, all his fire and fury signified really little else than ill- 
temper too easily provoked. Not to justify or excuse such language, 
but to explain it, this consideration is urged. If not uniformly 

• Southey to Landor, 19th December, i821. This Is one of the letters printed in the 
Life and Correwandence (V. 106-107), but the whole of the passage- in the text has 
been suppressed (with many others), and is now printed for the first time. 

AT. 40-46.] 



placable, Landor was always compassionate. He was tender-hearted 
rather than bloody-minded at all times, and upon only the most par- 
tial acquaintance with his writings could other opinion be formed. A 
completer knowledge of them would satisfy any one that he had as 
little real disposition to kill a king as to kill a mouse. 

In fact there is not a more marked peculiarity in his genius than 
the union with its strength of a most uncommon gentleness, and in 
the personal ways of the man this was equally manifest. When, in 
the year following that to which this narrative has arrived, Leigh 
Hunt went to Italy and saw him, he endeavored to convey the im- 
pression produced by so much vehemence of nature joined to such 
extraordinary delicacy of imagination by likening him to a stormy 
mountain £ine that should produce lilies. " After indulging the par- 
tialities of his friendships and enmities, and trampling on kings and 
ministers, he shall cool himself, like a Spartan worshipping a moon- 
beam, in the patient meekness of Lady Jane Grey." This is antici- 
pating somewhat, for though imaginary conversations in manuscript 
lie already in his desk, none have as yet emerged from it. But from 
letters to his family, from papers preserved by him of this date, and 
from some enclosures in his letters to Southey, I have discovered that 
this was the precise date of some of the smaller of his poetical pieces 
which will illustrate the remark just made as well as almost any of 
his writings. 

At Swansea in former years he had made the acquaintance of some 
ladies of Lord Aylmer's family, one of whom, regarded by him always 
with a very tender sentiment, went shortly afterwards to India and 
died suddenly while yet very young. 

" Ah. what avails the sceptred race, 

Ah, what the form divine ! 
What every virtue, every grace ! 

Bose Aylmer, all were thine. 
Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes 

May weep but never see, 
A night of memories and of sighs 

I consecrate to thee." 

The deep and tender pathos of that little poem could hardly be 
surpassed, and in delicacy and sweetness of expression it is perfect. It 
was first printed in its present form some years after this date, and has 
since affected many readers with the same indefinable charm ascribed 
to it by Charles Lamb in an unpublished letter to Landor of the date 
of 1832. " Many things I had to say to you which there was not 
time for. One why should I forget 1 'T is for Rose Aylmer, which 
has a charm I cannot explain. I lived upon it for weeks." 

I subjoin other brief pieces (all of them subsequently printed) 
from his letters during the first years of his residence in Italy. In 
some of them we meet again a heroine of former years, as to whom 
further allusion may be made hereafter ; but the passion is now a 
playful tenderness, and sorrow or reproach has passed into very gen- 
tle pathos. 


306 ***** a* raABB » «*"■ [book iv. 

M A provident and wakeful fear 

Impels me, while I read, to say, 
When Poesy invites, forbear 

Sometimes to walk her tempting wayi 
Beadier is she to swell the tear 

Than its sharp tinglings to allay." 

u No, my own love of other years! 

No, it must never be. 
Much rests with you that yet endears; 

Alas, but what with me f 
Could those bright years o'er me revolve 

So gay, o'er you so fair, 
The pearl of life we would dissolve, 

And each the cup might share. 
Tou show that truth can ne'er decay, 

Whatever fate befalls; 
I, that the myrtle and the bay 

Shoot fresh on ruined walls." 

44 Why, why repine, my pensive friend, 
At pleasures slipt away? 
Some the stern Fates will never lend, 
And all refuse to stay. 

"I see the rainbow in the sky, 
The dew upon the grass; 
I see them, and I ask not why 
They glimmer or they pass. 

M With folded arms I linger not 
To call them back ; r t were vain; 
In this, or in some other spot, 
I know they 'U shine again." 

«« My hopes retire ; my wishes as before 
Struggle to find their resting-place in vain: 
The ebbing sea thus beats against the shore; 
The shore repels it; it returns again." • 

u All tender thoughts that e'er possest 
The human brain or human breast 

Centre in mine for thee . . . 
Excepting one . . and that must thou 
Contribute: come, confer it now: 
Gratqfid I fain would be." 

«* Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak 
Four not exempt from pride some future day. 
Besting on one white hand a warm wet cheek 

Over my open volume you will *ay» 
* This man loved ws/ 1 then rise and trip away. 

" Pleasure ! why thus desert the heart 
In its spring-tide? ... 

I could have seen her, I could part, 
And but have sighed! 

u O'er every youthful charm to stray, 

To gase, to touch . . . 
Pleasure! why take so much away, 
Or give so much? " 


u PotL Thus do you sit and break the flowers 
That might have lived a few short hours, 
And lived for you ! Love, who overpowers 

My youth and me, 
Shows me the petals idly shed. 
Shows me my hopes as early aead, 
la vain, in vain admonished 

By all I see. 
Lady. And thus yon while the noon away, 
Watching me strip my flowers of gay 
Apparel, just put on for May. 

Ana soon laid by! 
Cannot yon teach me one or two 
Fine phrases? if yon can, pray do; 
Since ftm are grown too wise to woo, 

To listen I. 
Poet, Lady, I come not here to teach ; 
But learn, the moods of gentle speech; 
Alas! too far beyond my reach 

Are happier strains. 
Many frail leaves shall yet lie pulled, 
Many frail hopes in death-bed lulled. 
Or ere this outcast heart be schooled 

By all its pains." 

M In Clementina's artless mien 
Lucilla asks me what I see, 
And are the roses of sixteen 
Enough for me? 

u Lucilla asks, if that be all, 

Have I not culled as sweet before: 
Ah yes, Lucilla, and their fall 
I still deplore. 

M I now behold another scene. 

Where Pleasure beams with heaven's own light, 
More pure, more constant, more serene, 
And not less bright: 

u Faith, on whose breast the Loves repose, 
Whose chain of flowers no force can sever, 
And Modesty, who, when she goes, 
Is gone forever." 

M From you, Ianthe, little troubles pass 
Like little ripples down a sunny river; 
Tour pleasures spring like daisies in the grass 
Out down and up again as blithe as ever." 

" I often ask upon whose arm she leans, 

She whom I dearly love, 
And if she visit much the crowded scenes 

Where mimic passions move. 
There, mighty powers! assert your just control, 

Alarm her thoughtless breast. 
Breathe soft suspicion o'er her yielding souL 

But never break its rest 
O, let some faithful lover, absent long, 

To sudden bliss return; 
Then Landor's name shall tremble frdm her tongue, 

Her cheek through tears shall burn." 


" She leads in solitude her youthful hoars, 

Her nights are restlessness, her days are pain. 

0, when will Health and Pleasure come again, 
Adorn her brow and strew her path with flowers, 
And wandering wit relume the roseate bowers, 

And turn and trifle with his festive train ? 
Grant, me, 0, grant this wish, ye heavenly Powers t 

All other hope, all other wish, restrain." 

At Pistoia be saw the hair of Lucretia Borgia, on which he wrote 
a quatrain solemn yet fantastic in its beauty as the subject that sug- 
gested it. 

" Borgia, thou once wert almost too august 
And high for adoration; now thou 'rt dust: 
All that remains of thee these plaitajuifold, 
Calm hair meandering in pellucid golcT." 

On his way to Florence these were written : — 

u I leave with unreverted eye the towers 
Of Pisa Dining o'er her desert stream. 
Pleasure (they say) yet lingers in thy bowers, 
Florence, thou patriot's sigh, thou poet's dream! 

M 0, could I find thee as thou once wert known, 
Thoughtful and lofty, liberal and free ! 
But the pure Spirit of thy wreck has flown. 
And only Pleasure's phantom dwells with thee." 

It would be difficult to surpass the delicacy and beauty of writing 
in all these pieces. If indeed they have here and there a fault, it 
will be found in something of an over-choiceness and conciseness of 
expression, at times allying itself rather to subtlety of thought than 
simplicity of sentiment. But for the most part, as even the few thus 
presented will show, they are both in feeling and style as nearly per- 
fect as such things can be, and the most famous of the short pieces 
in the Greek Anthology have not a more pervading and indescribable 
air of refinement and grace. Southey had now to confess, jealous as 
he was of the time given by his friend to composition after the an- 
cient models, that he did not write his own language worse for having 
become more thoroughly practised in theirs. He told Grosvenor 
Bedford of Landor/a improvement from his years of exile, and that 
his wonderful genius was freeing itself rapidly from everything harsh 
or obscure. But he spoke of him still as a man born pre-eminently 
a poet ; and could indeed have had small conception that he was at 
this moment engaged on any prose literary labor of which the sud- 
den and wide success would go far even to dismiss from men's fur- 
ther remembrance his Gebir and his Julian. The letter received by 
Southey immediately before the allusion to the " dialogues " reached 
him which is printed in the last section, had enclosed what in especial 
I suppose to have at this time raised his hope so high for his friend's 
chances at last of being admitted to the highest rank among poets. 
This was two dramatic pieces : one taken from the story of Ines de 
Castro ; and the other, under the title of " Ippolito di Este," a re- 
written version of a couple of scenes from his burnt Ferranie and 

M >» b 

jet. 40-46.] 



Giulio,* out of which one or two brief extracts will not be inappro- 
priate here, as well to justify what Southey built upon it, as for the 
light it throws upon the other work its author then was busy with. 

It has been said of the Imaginary Conversations that it is never 
possible to read them without feeling that whatever may be 'their 
truth to the circumstances and times in which their supposed speak- 
ers lived, they are still more true to Landor himself ; that we always 
feel it is he who is speaking ; and that he has merely chosen charac- 
ters whom he considered suitable to develop particular phases of his 
own mind. There is something in this, but it is far from expressing 
on the particular pout all that requires to be said. If the conver- 
sations had been only this, they would not have differed in result 
from the many similar undertakings by writers of that and the pre- 
ceding century. Their distinction and their success was the combi- 
nation with the intense individuality to which I have alluded at the 
opening of this section of some* of the subtlest arts of the drama- 
tist and of the highest poetical imagination. So calm a judgment as 
Julius Hare's found creations in them comparable only to Sophocles 
or Shakespeare : f and to so keen a criticism as Hazlitt's it appeared 
that the historical figures they evoked were transfused with nothing 
short of the very truth and spirit of history itself. X Applied to 
eome few of the conversations neither praise is in excess ; and even 
where, as in by far the greater number, that is said from time to 
time which the speaker in life would not be likely to have said or to 
have been in the position to say*, the man may thus be forgotten, but the 
character remains. True or false, the character conceived by Landor 
is in the forms of thought and speech there still The dramatic con- 
ditions continue to be observed. Landor may be discoverable where 
we ought to be conscious only of Cicero, but it is in a difference be- 
tween the fact as known to us and the conception formed of it, not 
in any falsehood to that conception or in any merely personal intru- 
sion. If it had been otherwise, the defect would have shown itself 
in his poetical as in his prose conversations ; and it is to exhibit the 
same spirit animating both that I now speak of the scenes of Ferrante 
and Giulio. They are not more perfect than those which accompa- 
nied them ; but in a brief space they illustrate with surprising force 
Lander's management of a dialogue bringing the extremes of passion 
and tenderness into play. 

The first scene is in a cathedral, the second in a prison : and the 
position of the persons introduced in a few words is this. The Duke 
Alfonso and his brother the cardinal have two brothers by their 
father's side, Ferrante and Giulio, whom they refuse to acknowledge. 
The duke is jealous of Ferrante's power over his subjects, and the 
, cardinal of his influence over the girl beloved by his eminence him- 

, * See ante. pp. 188, 184. 

f London Magazine, IX. 528, 588, 689. 
I Edinburgh Review,, March, 1824. 

310 HR8T BIZ YXABS IS ITALY. ^Booic nr. 

self The prince is a tyrant of the approved type of mediaeval Italy, 
and the priest very exactly foreshadows Victor Hugo's famous arch- 
deacon. The first scene shows him in the cathedral, maddened by 
the rejection of his love. 


44 Surely no air it stirring; every step 
Tires me; the oohimns shake, the ceiling fleets, 
The floor beneath me slopes, the altar rises. 
Stay! here she stept: what grace ! what harmony I 
It seemed that every accent, every note 
Of all the choral music, breathed from her: 
From her celestial airiness of form 
I could have fancied purer Hght descended. 
Between the pillars, close and wearying, 
I watcht her as she went: I had rusht on ; * , 
It was too late; yet when I stopt, I thought 
1 stopt full soon: I cried, fukem* tkcrtl 
She had been : I had seen her shadow burst 
The sunbeam as she parted : a strange sound, 
A sound that stupefied and not aroused me, 
Filled all my senses: such was never felt 
Save when the sword-girt Ansel struck the gate, 
And Paradise wailed loud ana closed forever." 

His passion in all its forms only repels its object Seeing her weep 
after leaving Ferrante, he builds upon it a kind of hope which she at 
once destroys, comparing him with the brother that she loves. 

44 AH tears are not for sorrow: many swell 
In the warm depths of gratitude and bliss; 
But precious over all are those that hang 
And tremble at the tale of generous deeds. 
These he relates when he might talk, as you do, 
Of passion : but be sees my heart, he finds 
What fragrance most refreshes it 

How high. 
Heaven 1 must that man be, who loves, ana who 
Would still raise others higher than himself 
To interest his beloved f 

All my soul 
Is but one drop from his, and into his 
Falls, as earth's dew falls into earth again." 

What follows is the dialogue in prison to which I have more espe-, 
dally referred, and in which is expressed what the Italian legend dryly 
tells us, that the cardinal obtained an order from the duke to deprive 
Ferrante of his eyes because the girl beloved by his eminence 
praised the b